^ W •^^■W 9^
THE UNIVERSITY OF
THE WILMER COLLECTION
OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS
RICHARD H. WILMER, JR.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Trying to Enlist.
THE LOST ARMY
THOMAS W. KNOX
AUTHOR OF " A CLOSE SHAVE," " THE TALKING HANDKERCHIEF," " THE BOY
TRAVELLERS," ETC., ETC.
THE MERRIAM COMPANY
67 Fifth Avenue,
THE MERRIAM COMPANY.
I. Harry and Jack — Outbreak of the War — Trying to
II. St. Louis and Camp Jackson 12
III. Secession Ideas of Neutrality 19
IV. On the Koad to Glory 26
V. On tlie March — Captuiing a Rebel Flag 33
VI. Marching and Camping in the Kain — First Shots at
the Enemy 39
VII. From Jefferson to Booneville — First Battle in Mis-
VIII. The Captured Camp— A Chaplain's Exploit 51
IX. Regulars and Volunteers — Foraging in the Enemy's
X. Lessons in Mule Driving — Critical Position of the
XL A Terrible March^A Fight and a Retreat 71
XII. Battle of Wilson's Creek — Death of General Lyon. . 77
XIII. After the Battle— A Flag of Truce 84
XIV. Losses in Battle — The Retreat 91
XV. In Camp at Rolla — A Private Expedition into the
Enemy's Country 97
XVI. Hints for Campaigning — In a Rebel's House — Snuff-
XVII. A Successful Scout — Capture of a Rebel Cavalry
XVIII. The Rebels on the Offensive — Siege of Lexington. . . 117
XIX. Surrender of Lexington — Price's Retreat and Fre-
mont's Advance 124
XX. Occupation of Springfield — Another Battle Immi-
XXI. Army Scouting — Refugees and their Sufferings 138
XXII. A General Advance — A Scouting Party and what
Came of It 144
XXIII. In the Camp of the Rebels — Captiu'ed Letters and
their C'ontents 151
XXIV. A Rapid Pursuit — "The Arkansas Traveler" —
Game Chickens and Cooking Mains 157
XXV. A Rapid Retreat — An Expedition and a Forced
XXVI. Van Dorn's Advance — Sigel's Masterly Retreat —
The Battle Begun 173
XXVII. The Fighting near Elkhorn Tavern — Harry's Exper-
ience under Fire 180
XXVIII. General Carr' s Division Driven Back — Jack Becomes
a Prisoner 187
XXIX. The Night in Camp — Beginning of tlie Last Day's
XXX. Tlie Rebels Defeated — End of the Battle — Indians
Scalping our Soldiers and Mutilating their Bodies. 201
XXXI. Jack's Experiences as a Prisoner — Rebel Soldiers'
XXXII. Jack's Diplomacy — His Return to Camp — A New
XXXIII. A New Scouting Expedition — Captured by the
XXXIV. Captured Again— How Jack " Played Crazy " 230
XXXV. A Treacherous Host — How the Boys turned the
XXXVI. Convicted by a Dumb Witness — Short Rations — A
XXXVII. Returning Cordelia's Kindness — Jack and Harry on
a Naval Expedition 260
XXXVIII. The Boat vinder Fire — Important information 266
XXXIX. A Joke on the Spies — Wonderful Shells — Tlie Army
Reaches Clarendon 275
XL. A Night Attack by Pigs — Battle Between Forts
and Gunboats — Disaster to the Momid City 282
XLI. The Lost Army in Camp at Helena — Negroes Utilized
—The End ' 290
THE LOST ARMY.
HAKRT AND JACK OUTBREAK OF THE WAR TRYING TO
" Let 's go and enlist ! "
" Perhaps they won't take us," was the reply.
" Well, there 's nothing like trying," responded the
first speaker. " Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
" That 's so," said the other. " And if we can't go for
soldiers, perhaps they '11 find us useful about the camp
for something else."
This conversation took place between two boys of
Dubuque, Iowa, one pleasant morning early in the year
1861. They were Jack Wilson and Harry Fulton, neither
of whom had yet seen his sixteenth birthday. They were
the sons of industrious and respectable parents, whose
houses stood not far apart on one of the humbler streets
of that ambitious city ; they had known each other for
ten years or more, had gone to school together, played
together, and at the time of which we are writing they
were working side by side in the same shop.
The war for the destruction of the Union on the one
hand and its preservation on the other had just begun.
The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency had
6 THE LOST ARMY.
alarmed the Southern states, who regarded it as a menace
to their beloved system of negro slavery. In consequence
of his election the Southern leaders endeavored to with-
draw their states from the Union, and one after another
had passed ordinances of secession. South Carolina was
the first to secede, her action being taken on the twentieth
of December, five weeks after the presidential election.
Ten other states followed her example and united with
South Carolina in forming the Confederate States of North
America, choosing Jefi'erson Davis as their first president.
Then followed the demand for the surrender of the forts
and other property of the United States in the region in
rebellion. Fort Sumter was taken after a bloodless fight,
in which the first gun was fired by the South ; other
states seceded, and then came the uprising of the North
in defense of the Union.
As if by the wand of a magician the whole North was
transformed into a vast military camp, where only a few
days before nothing was to be seen save the arts and arms
of peace and industry. Recruiting offices were opened
in every city and almost in every village. Squads were
formed into companies, companies into regiments and
regiments into brigades, with a celerity that betokened ill
for the cause of secession. The North had been taunted
over and over again that it was more intent upon money-
making than anything else, and nothing could provoke it
into a fight. It had been patient and long-suffering, but
the point of exasperation had been reached, and the men
of the Northern states were now about to show of what
stuff they were made.
The president issued a call for seventy-five thousand
men to serve for three months, and the call was responded
to with alacrity. And it was in the recruiting that formed
a part of this response that our story opens.
Jack and Harry went to the recruiting office, which
THE LOST ARMY. 7
was on one of the principal streets of Dubuque and easy
to find. Over the doorway an immense flag — the flag of
the nation — was waving in the morning breeze, and in
front of the door was an excited group of men discussing
the prospects for the future, and particularly the chances
" It '11 be over in a month," said one, " and we '11 all be
back here at home before our enlistment time 's up."
" Yes ; the South '11 be cleaned out in no time," said
another. " Those fellows are good on the brag, but when
they look into the muzzles of Northern muskets they '11
turn tail and run."
" Don't be so sure of that," said a third. " The South
may be wrong in all this business, but they '11 give us all
the fighting we want."
" You 'd better go and fight for Jeff Davis," was the
retort which followed. " We don't want any fellows like
you around us."
" That we don't, you bet," said another, and the senti-
ment was echoed by fully half the listeners.
" You 're all wrong," persisted the man who had just
spoken. " Don't misunderstand me; I'm just as good
a Union man as anybody, and I 'm going to fight for the
Union, but I don't want anybody to go off half-cocked,
and think we're going to lick the South out of its boots
in no time ; because we can't do it. We 're going to win
in this fight ; we 're twenty millions and they 're eight,
and we 've got most of the manufacturing and the men
who know how to work with their hands. But the
Southerners are Americans like ourselves, and can fight
just as well as we can. They think they 're right, and
thinking so makes a heap of difference when you go in
for war. They '11 do their level best, just as we shall."
" Perhaps they will," was the reply, " but we '11 make
short work of 'em."
8 THE LOST ARMY.
" All right," responded the other, " we won't lose our
tempers over it ; but anybody who thinks the war will
be over in three months doesn't appreciate American
fighting ability, no matter on which side of the line it is
This mode of putting the argument silenced some of
his opponents, particularly when he followed it up by
showing how the Southern regiments in the Mexican war
covered themselves with glory side by side with the
Northern ones. But the loudest of the talkers refused to
be silenced, and continued to taunt him with being a
sympathizer with the rebellion.
At the outbreak of the war a great deal of this kind of
talk was to be heard on both sides ; men in the North
declaring that the South would be conquered and the war
ended in three months, while people at the South boasted
of the ability of one Southern man to whip three North-
erners. When the armies fairly met in the field and steel
clashed against steel all this boasting on both sides was
silenced, and North and South learned to respect each
otlier for their soldierly qualities. One of the greatest of
military mistakes is to hold your enemy in contempt, and
to this mistake is due some of the disasters of the early
days of the war.
And the lesson may be carried further. One of the
greatest mistakes in the battle of life is to underrate those
who oppose you or the hindrances that lie in your path.
Always regard your opponent as fully your equal in
everything, and then use your best endeavors to over-
come him. Do your best at all times, and you have more
than an even chance of success in the long run.
Jack and Harry listened a few moments to the debate
among the men in front of the recruiting office, and then
made their way inside. A man in the uniform of a cap-
tain was sitting behind a desk taking the names of those
nm LOST ahmt.
that wanted to enlist, and telling them to wait their turn
for examination. In a few moments a man came out
from an inner room, and then a name was called and its
owner went inside.
" Don't think you '11 get in there, sonny," said a man,
who observed the puzzled look of Jack as he glanced to-
ward the inner door.
"What are they doing in there?" queried Jack encour-
aged by the friendly way in which he had been addressed.
" They 're putting the recruits through their paces," was
the reply ; "examining 'em to see whether they '11 do for_
" How do they do it ? "
" They strip a man down to his bare skin," was the
reply, "and then they thump him and measure him, to
see if his lungs are sound; weigh him and take his height,
make him jump, try his eyes, look at his teeth ; in fact,
they put him through very much as you 've seen a horse
handled by a dealer who wanted to buy him. They 've
refused a lot of men here that quite likely they '11 be glad
to take a few months from now."
And so it was. The first call for troops was responded
to by far more men than were wanted to fill the quota,
and the recruiting officers could afford to be very par-
ticular in their selections. Subsequent calls for troops
were for three years' service, and, as the number under
arms increased, recruiting became a matter of greater
difficulty. Men that were refused at the first call were
gladly accepted in later ones. Before the end of the first
year of the war more than six hundred and sixty-one
thousand men were under arms in the North.
Jack and Harry walked up to the desk where the officer
sat as soon as they saw he was unoccupied.
"Well, my boys, what can I do for you?" said the
10 THE LOST AHMT.
Jack waited a moment for Harry to speak, and finding
he did not do so, broke the ice himself with —
" We want to enhst, General."
The youth was unfamiliar with the insignia of rank,
and thought he would be on the safe side by applying
the highest title he knew of. The gilded buttons and
shoulder-straps dazzled his eyes, and it is no wonder that
he thought a man with so much ornamentation was de-
serving of the highest title.
" Captain, if you please," said the officer, smiling; "but
I 'm afraid you 're too young for us. How old are you?"
" Coming sixteen," both answered in a breath.
The captain shook his head as he answered that they
were altogether too young.
" Could n't we do something else ? " queried Harry,
eagerly. " We can drive horses and work about the
" If you ever go for a soldier," replied the captain,
"you '11 find that the men do their own camp work, and
don't have servants. Perhaps we can give you a chance
at the teams. Here, take this to the quartermaster,"
and he scribbled a memorandum, suggesting that the
boys might be handy to have about camp and around the
horses. They could n't be enlisted, of course, but he liked
their looks, and thought they could afford to feed the
The boys eagerly hastened to the quartermaster, whom
they had some difficulty in finding. He questioned them
closely, and finally said they might go with the regiment
when it moved. It was not then ready for the field, and
he advised the boys to stay at home until the organization
was complete and the regiment received orders to march
to the seat of war.
The parental permission was obtained with compara-
tively little difficulty, as the fathers of both the youths
THE LOST ARMY. 11
were firm believers in the theory of a short war, without
any figliting of consequence ; they thought the outing
would be a pleasant affair of two or three months at
farthest. Had they foreseen the result of the call to
arms, and especially the perils and privations which were
to befall Jack and Harry, it is probable that our heroes
would have been obliged to run away in order to carry
out their intention of going to the field. And possibly
their ardor would have been dampened a little, and they
might have thought twice before marching away as they
did when the regiment was ordered to the front and the
scene of active work iu the field.
12 TBE LOST ARMY.
ST. LOUIS AND CAMP JACKSON^.
While Jack and Harry are waiting impatiently for the
order that will give them a taste of military life, we will
leave them for a while and go down the Mississippi river to
the great city of St. Louis.
The state of Missouri was one of those known as the
" Border States," as it lay on the border between North
and South. It was the most northerly of the slavehold-
ing states west of the Mississippi river, and the system
of slavery did not have a strong hold upon her people.
Probably the majority of her native-born citizens were in
favor of slavery, or only passively opposed to it, but it
contained two hundred thousand residents of German
birth, and these almost to a man were on the side of
freedom. When the question of secession was submitted
to the popular vote, the state, by a majority of eighty-
thousand votes, refused to secede ; but the governor and
nearly all the rest of the state authorities were on the side
of secession, and determined to take Missouri out of the
Union in spite of the will of the people.
Governor Jackson was in fall sympathy with the seces-
sion movement, and with the reins of power in his hands
he made the most of his opportunities. General Sterling
Price, who commanded the Missouri state militia, was
equally on the side of slavery and its offspring, secession,
though at first he opposed the movement for taking the
state out of the Union, and was far more moderate in his
THE LOST ARMY. 13
councils than was the governor and others of the state
officials. Earnestly opposed to these men were Francis P.
Blair, junior, and other unconditional Union men, most of
whom lived in St. Louis, and had for years been fighting
the battle of freedom on behalf of the state. They believed
and constantly argued that Missouri would be far better
off as a free state than a slave one, while the opponents
of slavery in the Eastern and extreme Northern states
had based their arguments mainly on the ground of
justice to the black man. The Free-State men of Missouri
gave the rights of the negro a secondary place and some-
times no ]Dlace at all, but confined themselves to showing
that the state would be better off and more prosperous
under freedom than under slavery. They had a good
knowledge of human nature, similar to that displayed by
the author of the old maxim that " Honesty is the best
policy." " Be honest," he would say, " because it is the
best policy to be so, and let the question of right or wrong
take care of itself."
All through the month of April, 1861, the plotting to
take Missouri out of the Union was carried on by the
secession party, and at the same time there was counter-
plotting on the part of the Union men. The secessionists,
having the aid and sympathy of the state authorities, had
the advantages on their side, and were not slow to use
them. They organized forces under the name of minute
men, and had them constantly drilling and learning the
duties of soldiers. Later, under an order issued by the
Governor, they formed a camp of instruction, under com-
mand of General D. M. Frost, in the suburbs of St. Louis,
with the openly-declared intention of capturing the
United States arsenal, which stood on the bank of the
river just below the city.
At the same time the Union men were equally active,
and, under the leadership of Blair, those who were rea^y
14 THE LOST ARMY.
to fight for the preservation of the nation were organized
into a military force called the " Home Guards." While
the plotting was going on and matters were progressing
toward actual warfare, Captain Nathaniel Lyon, who com-
manded at the arsenal, caused the garrison to be strength-
ened, sent away the superfluous arms and ammunition
to a place of greater safety, armed the Home Guards, and
on the tenth of May surprised the secessionists by marching
out in force and capturing Camp Jackson, the camp of
instruction already mentioned.
In order to have good reason for making the capture.
Captain Lyon visited Camp Jackson in disguise and went
through it from one end to the other. What he found in
the camp gave him sufficient reason for action. Here
it is :
When the state of Louisiana seceded from the ITnion
the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge was seized by
the state authorities, who took forcible possession of the
arms and munitions of war that they found there. When
he was planning to capture the arsenal at St. Louis,
Governor Jackson found that he needed some artillery
with which to open fire from the hills that command the
arsenal, which is on low ground on the bank of the river.
Governor Jackson sent two officers to the Confederate
capital, which was then at Montgomery, Alabama, to
make an appeal to Jefferson Davis for artillery from the
lot taken at Baton Rouge, and explain for what it was
wanted. President Davis granted the request, ordered
the commandant at Baton Rouge to deliver the artillery
and ammunition as desired, and he wrote at the same
time to Governor Jackson as follows :
* * * After learning as well as I could from the gentlemen accred-
ited to me what was most needed for the attack on the arsenal, I
have directed that Captains Greene and Duke should be furnished
with two 12-poimd howitzers and two 32-pouud guns, with the proper
THE LOST ARMY. 15
ammunition for each. These, from the commanding hills, will he ef-
fective against the.garrison and to break the inclosing walls of the
place. I concur with you in the great importance of capturing the
arsenal and securing its supplies. * * » We look anxiously and
hopefully for the day when the star of Missouri shall be added to the
constellation of the Confederate States of America.
With the best wishes I am, very respectfully, yours,
The cannon and ammunition reached St. Louis on the
eighth of May, and Avere immediately sent to Camp Jack-
son. The negotiations for tliem had been known to Blair
and Lyon, and as soon as they learned of the arrival of
the material which would be so useful in capturing the
arsenal, they determined to act. Captain Lyon, as before
stated, went in disguise through the camp on the ninth,
saw with his own eyes the cannon and ammunition,
learned that they had come from Baton Rouge, and was
told for what purpose they were intended.
Here was the stolen property of the United States in
the hands of the enemies of the government, and intended
to be used for further thefts by violence. There could be
no doubt of his duty in the matter, except in the mind of
a secessionist or his sympathizer.
By the secessionists the capture of Camp Jackson was
looked upon as a great outrage, for which the Union men
had no authority under the Constitution and laws either
of the United States or of the state of Missouri. It was a
peculiar circumstance of the opening months of the rebell-
ion, and in fact all through it, that the rebels and their
sympathizers were constantly invoking the Constitution
of the United States wherever it could be brought to bear
against the supporters of the government ; so much was
this the case that in time it came to be almost a certainty
that any man who prated about the Constitution was on
the side of the rebellion. The men who were ready to
16 TBE LOST ARMY.
violate it were those who constantly sought to shield
themselves behind it.
As an illustration of this state of affairs, may be cited
the letter of Governor Jackson in reply to the proclama-
tion of President Lincoln calling for seventy-five thousand
troops for three months, " to maintain the honor, the in-
tegrity and the existence of our National Union, and the
perpetuity of popular government ; * * * and to repossess
the forts, places, and property which have been seized
from the Union."
Missouri was called upon for four regiments of militia
as her quota of tlie seventy-five thousand. Governor
Jackson replied to the president that he considered the
requisition "illegal, unconstitutional and revolutionary in
its objects, inhuman and diabolical, and cannot be com-
plied with." At the same time he was going on with
preparations for carrying the state out of the Union, con-
trary to the desires of a majority of its inhabitants, as if
they had no rights that he was bound to respect!
As before stated, the arsenal at St. Louis is completely
dominated by the range of hills beyond it, and a military
force having possession of these hills would have the ar-
senal in its control. The secession leaders laid their plans
to take possession of these hills in order to capture the ar-
senal. Learning of their intentions. Captain Lyon threw
up a line of defensive works in the streets outside the
walls of the arsenal, whereupon the secessionists invoked
the local laws and endeavored to convince him that he
had no right to do anything of the kind. The board of
police commissioners ordered him to keep his men inside
the walls of the arsenal, but he refused to do so, and
for this he was loudly denounced as a violator of the
There were about seven hundred men in Camp Jackson,
under command of General Frost. Captain Lyon had
THE LOST ARMY. 17
issued arms to several regiments of the Home Guards of
St. Louis, in spite of the protest of the police commission-
ers, who considered his action in doing so highly improper.
These regiments, added to the regular soldiers composing
the garrison at the arsenal, gave Captain Lyon a force of
six or seven thousand men, with which he marched out on
Friday, the tenth of May, surrounded Camp Jackson, and
demanded its surrender. Lender the circumstances Gen-
eral Frost could do nothing else than surrender, which he
did at once. The militia stacked their arms and were
marched out on their way to the arsenal. A short dis-
tance from the camp they were halted for some time, and
during the halt a large crowd of people collected, nearly
all of them being friends of the prisoners or sympathizers
Most of the Home Guards were Germans, and during
the halt they were reviled with all the epithets with
which the tongues of the secession sympathizers were
familiar. These epithets comprised all the profanity and
vulgarity known to the English language in its vilest
aspects, and added to them was the opprobrious name of
" Dutch blackguards," which was applied in consequence
of one of the companies calling itself Die Schioartze Garde.
Without orders, some of the soldiers fired on the jeering
mob ; the fire passed along the line until several com-
panies had emptied their rifles, and twenty-eight people
fell, killed or mortally wounded, among them being
three prisoners. Then the firing ceased as suddenly
as it began, and the prisoners were marched to the
On the eleventh all the captured men were liberated on
their parole not to bear arras against the LTnited States.
One officer, Captain Emmett McDonald, refused to accept
release on this condition, and like a true secessionist
sought his remedy through the Constitution and the laws
18 THE LOST ARMY.
of the country. It took a long time to secure it, but
eventually he was liberated on a technicality, went South
and joined the Southern cause, and was killed in battle
not long afterward.
" What has all this to do with Jack and Harry?" the
impatient reader asks. We shall very soon find out.
THE LOST AR3iY. 19
SECESSION IDEAS OF NEUTRALITY.
For some days it was rumored in Dubuque that the
Iowa troops would soon be ordered to march into the
neigliboring state of Missouri.
There was gi-eat excitement wlien, on the morning of
the eleventli of May, the particulars of occurrences of the
day before in St. Louis were published. Jack read about
it in the morning paper and then hurried to Harry's house
as fast as liis young feet could carry him.
" This means business," said Jack, as he quickly nar-
rated to Harry what he had read.
" So it does," was the response ; " we '11 surely be off
before many days. Let 's go to camp."
Away they went, and found, as they expected, that
everybody expected to move to the front very shortly.
" We are pretty nearly ready for orders," said the quar-
termaster, " and you 'd better come here twice a day, if not
oftener, to make sure that you don't get left. Watch
the newspapers and see what happens in Missouri for the
next few days, as it will have a good deal to do with our
The boys did as they were directed, and, what was
more, they went to a tailor and bought suits resembling
those worn by the soldiers. They were not entitled to
receive uniforms from the quartermaster, as they had not
been enlisted or regularly employed, and, therefore, their
outfits were paid for out of their own pockets. But the
20 THE LOST ARMY.
clothes they wanted were not costly, and therefore their
outfits did not cost them mucli.
There was more news of importance the next day, and
if the excitement was great in Dubuque, it was nothing
to that in St. Louis.
According to the histories of the time, it occurred in
this wise :
A regiment of the Home Guards was marching from
the arsenal to its barracks, which lay at the other side
of the city, and while on its way it encountered a dense
multitude which blocked the street. The crowd being
almost wholly composed of secessionists, many of whom
were armed with pistols, a pistol-shot was fired at the
soldiers, whereupon the latter opened fire, killing eight
men and wounding several others. Then the regiment
continued to its barracks and was not further mo-
A rumor went around among the secessionists that the
Germans had threatened to kill everybody who did not
agree with them, and a general massacre was seriously
feared. The police commissioners and the mayor asked
to have the Home Guards sent away from the city, and
though General Harney, the commander of the depart-
ment, promised to comply with their request, he was soon
convinced by Blair and Lyon that it could not be done
without giving the city into the hands of the secessionists.
Then came a rumor that the Home Guards had refused
to obey the orders of General Harney, and were about to
begin the destruction of the city and the murder of its
A panic followed, and on the twelfth and thirteenth of
May thousands of women and children were sent out of
the city ; the ferry-boats were crowded to their utmost
capacity, and extra steamboats were pressed into service
to convey the people to places of safety. Quiet was
THE LOST ARMY. 21
not restored until two companies of regular soldiers
were brought into the city and General Harney had
issued a proclamation in which he pledged his faith as
a soldier to preserve order and protect all unoffending
citizens. This brought back nearly all the fugitives,
but there Avere some who never returned, as they feared
the terrible " Dutch blackguards " would revolt against
their officers and deluge the streets of St. Louis with
Jack and Harry read with great interest the account of
these happenings in the neighboring state, and wondered
how they would all end. They also read the editorial
comments of the newspapers, but could not understand
all they found there.
So they strolled down to camp and questioned one of
the soldiers, an intelligent printer from one of tlie news-
" One thing we want to know," said Jack, " is what is
meant by ' states-rights ' ? "
"That 's what the South is going to war about,'' was
the reply ; " or at any rate that is tlie pretext of the
leaders, though I 've no doubt it is honestly believed by
the great mass of the southern people."
" What is it, anyway ? "
" Well, it is the idea that the general government of
the United States has no power to coerce or control a
state against the latter's will."
" Does that mean," said Harry, " that if a state wants
to go out of the Union she has a perfect right to do so,
and there 's no power or right in the general government
to stop her?"
" Yes, that 's what it means," was the reply. " The
states-rights argument is that the states that were dis-
satisfied with the election of President Lincoln had a per-
fect right to secede or step out of the Union, and the
22 THE LOST ARMY.
Union had no right to force them to stay in or come
" Thank you," said Harry ; " I think I understand it
now. And how is it with the border states, hke Missouri,
and the state sovereignty they 're talking about ? "
" The states-rights men in Missouri chiim that the na-
tional government has no right or authority to call for
troops from Missouri to aid in putting down rebellion in
the seceded states; that Governor Jackson did right in
refusing such troops when the president called for them ;
that the national government has no right to enlist troops
in Missouri to take part in the war, and that it must not
be permitted to march its troops into or across or through
any part of the state in order to reach the states in rebell-
ion against the national authority."
" In other words," said one of the boys, " they want the
state of Missouri to be entirely neutral in the war — to
take no part in it either way ? "
"That 's what they say," replied the printer, with a
" But look here," exclaimed Harry ; " have n't I read
that the secessionists in Missouri seized the United States
arsenal at Liberty, in the western part of the state, and
took possession of all the cannon, small-arms and ammu-
nition they found there ? "
" And have n't I read about how they planned to cap-
ture the St. Louis arsenal, and Jeff Davis sent them
some artillery and annnunition for that purpose, and
wrote them a letter saying exactly what the cannon
were to be used for, and how they were to be placed on
the hills behind the arsenal in order to batter down the
walls ? "
" Yes, you read that, and it 's all true."
" That 's what they call neutrality, is it ? Do they
THE LOST ARMT. 23
claim that they have a perfect right to do anything they
please toward destroying the government, but the govern-
ment does wrong when it lifts a finger for its own pro-
tection ? "
" That 's exactly what they claim and have said over
and over again in their newspapers and through tlie
voices of their speakers, and every secessionist you talk
with says the same thing."
" Well," exclaimed Harry, after a slight pause, " I don't
think much of such neutrality as that. It 's as one-sided
as the handle of a jug — a sort of ' heads I win, tails you
lose,' business. You could respect them and believe them
sincere if they said ' hands off from us, and we '11 keep
hands off from you,' and then lived up to what they said."
Jack agreed with Harry, and both of them wondered
till they were tired and even then could not make it out
hoAV honest and fair-minded men as many of the southern
sympathizers undoubtedly were, could call such action as
that by the name of neutrality. Doubtless some of the
young people who read this story will wonder too, and
possibly they may doubt that such was the case. Their
doubts will be dispelled when they consult any of their
friends who are familiar with the history of the war of
The events of the tenth and eleventh of May greatly
aided Governor Jackson in his efforts to carry the state
of Missouri into the war on the side of the South. The
legislature met on the second of jMay, and the governor
recommended that the state should be placed in a con-
dition of defense, so that she could resist invasion by the
national forces. While it was discussing the subject and
making slow progress the tenth of May came, and with it
the Camp Jackson affair. In less than fifteen minutes
after the news was received both houses of the legislature
had passed the so-called military bill providing for arming
24 THE LOST ARMY.
the state, and it was ready to be signed by tlie governor
and become a law.
Five days later the legislature adjourned, after passing
other acts throwing the state on the side of secession,
appropriating two million dollars for military purposes,
in addition to the school fund and all other money be-
longing to the state. Tlie greatest alarm prevailed, as
the wildest stories were circulated about the bloodthirst-
iness of the Germans, who composed the greater part of
the Home Guards organized for the defense of St. Louis.
On a rumor that two regiments of them were approach-
the capital a railway bridge over the Gasconade River
was partially destroyed, and many people fled fom the
The president of the United States removed General
Harney from the command of the department, and ap-
pointed Lyon, who had been promoted to brigadier-general
of volunteers in his stead. Troops in Kansas, Iowa and
Illinois were ordered to be ready to move into Missouri,
and everything indicated that the government was deter-
mined to put a stop to the so-called neutrality of the
state. The neutrality was well illustrated by the circum-
stances that in all parts of the state the Union men were
the victims of outrages at the hands of their secessionist
For no other offense than being in favor of the LTnion
and opposed to Secession men were dragged from their
beds at night and ordered to leave the neighborhood
within twenty-four hours, their houses and barns were
burned, their cattle and horses stolen, work in the fields
was suspended, and everything was the reverse of peace-
ful. By an agreement between General Harney on the
Union side and General Price on behalf of the state au-
thorities, the operations of tlie military bill had been sus-
pended, and the volunteers which it called together were
THE LOST ARMY. 25
to be sent to their homes. But instead of going there
tliey were gathered into companies and battahons in con-
venient places, where they were drilled and instructed in
the duties of soldiers. Evidently the neutrality that the
Missouri rebels wanted was as oue-sided as we have already
26 THE LOST ARMY.
ON THE BOAD TO GLORT.
The regiment to which our young friends were attached
— the First Iowa — received orders to move southward.
Everything was bustle and activity in the camp, and the
hoys made themselves useful in a variety of ways.
As before stated, they were to accompany the wagon-
train, and at once proceeded to make friends with every-
body connected with that branch of the regiment's
service; and they were not only friendly with the men,
but with the horses. Some of the animals showed a ten-
dency to be unruly, but by gentle ways and words Jack
and Harry secured their confidence, and it was often re-
marked that the brutes would do more for the boys than
for anybody else. One of the teamsters asked Jack how
it was, and said he would give a good deal to know their
secret of horse-training.
" There 's no secret about it," replied Jack ; " at least,
none that I know of. My father is very fond of horses,
and has often told me that he always treats them kindly,
but at the same time firmly. If he sets out to have a
horse do anything he makes him do it ; if the creature
is stubborn he coaxes him and pets him, and keeps on
urging him to do what he wants, and after a while the
horse does it. When he has once begun he never lets up,
and the animal soon knows that the man is master, and
at the same time learns that he isn't to be cruelly pun-
ished, very often for not understanding what is wanted."
THE LOST ARMY. 27
To show what he could do in the way of equestrian
training, Jack took charge of a " balky " horse that fre-
quently stopped short in his tracks and refused to move
on m spite of a sound thrashing. All efforts to get him
to go ahead were of no use, and altogether the beast
(whose name was Billy) was the cause of a great deal of
bad language on the part of the teamsters, which even
the presence of the chaplain could not restrain.
Jack harnessed Billy into a cart, and after asking those
about him to make no interference, and not even to come
near him, he started to mount a small hill at the edge of
the camp. Before he had ascended ten feet of the sloping
road Billy halted, and showed by his position and the roll
of his eye that he intended to stay where he was.
Jack dismounted and took the animal by the head ; he
tugged gently at the bridle three or four times, speaking
gently and kindly all the while, but to no j^urpose. Billy
was " set " in his determination, and did not j)ropose to
" All right," said Jack ; " if you want to stop here I '11
stay too." And with that he pulled out a dime novel and
sat down by the roadside close to Billy's head.
Jack opened his book and began to read, while Billy
looked on and meditated. Half an hour passed and then
an hour. At the end of that time Jack made another
effort to start the horse up the hill, but with the same
result as before.
Then he read another hour and then another, stopping
once in a while to try and coax the animal to move on.
By this time it was noon, and Jack called to Harry to
bring him something to eat. Harry came with a slice of
cold meat and a piece of bread, and immediately went
away, leaving Jack to devour his lunch in silence, which
he did. When the meal was concluded he read another
chapter or two, and then he took Billy once more by
28 THE LOST ARMY.
the bridle and in the same gentle tones urged him to
Evidently the horse had thought the matter over, as he
showed a perfect willingness to do as his young master
desired. Without the least hesitation he went straisrht
up the hill, and Avhen they were at the top Jack petted
and praised him, and after a while took him back to camp.
The lesson was repeated again in the afternoon and on
the following day, and from that time on Billy was a
model of obedience as long as he was kindly treated.
" I believe a horse has to think things over just as we
do," said Jack ; *'and if you watch him you '11 find out that
he can't think fast. What I wanted was to have him
understand that he had got to stay there all day and all
night if necessary, until he did Avhat I wanted him to do.
When he saw me reading that book and sitting so quiet
by the roadside, and particularly when he saw me eat my
dinner and sit down to wait just as I had waited before,
he made up his mind that 't was n't any use to hold out.
Horses have good memories. Hereafter when he 's in-
clined to be balky he '11 think of that long wait and give
in without any fuss."
The regiment went by steamboat down the Mississippi
river to the frontier of Missouri, and there waited orders
to advance into the interior of the would-be neutral state,
and while it waited there was a rapid progress of events
in St. Louis, to which we will now turn.
General Lyon had positive information that the rebels
were preparing to bring troops from Arkansas and the
Indian Territory to assist the Missouri state guard in
keeping out the "Dutch and Yankees." Of course this
was quite in keeping with the neutrality about which
they had so much to say, and if allowed to go on it was
very evident that the whole of the interior of the state
might soon be in their control. Accordingly he asked
for further authority to enlist troops in the state, and
TBE LOST ARMT. 29
requested that the governors of the neighboring states
should be directed to furnish him with several regiments
that were in readiness. His request was granted, and
within less than a month from the capture of Camp Jack-
son General Lyon had a military force aggregating ten
thousand men in St. Louis, and as many more in Kansas,
Iowa and Illinois waiting orders to move wherever he
wanted them to go.
Besides these troops there were several thousands of
Home Guards in different parts of the state ; many of
these men were Germans, who had seen military service
in the old country, and were excellent material for an
army. Opposed to them the governor had a few thou-
sand state troops, many of them poorly armed, but they
greatly made up in activity what they lacked in numbers
or equipment, so far as keeping the country in a perpetual
turmoil was concerned.
It was very evident that the state troops could not hold
out against General Lyon's disciplined army, and conse-
quently the governor made ready to abandon Jefferson
City, the capital, whenever General Lyon moved against
it. All the state property that could be moved was sent
away, and the governor and other of&cials prepared to
follow whenever hostilities began.
Through the efforts of several gentlemen who still
hoped for a peaceful solution of the troubles of Missouri,
a conference was held at St. Louis on the eleventh of June
between Governor Jackson and General Price on behalf
of the state authorities, and General Lyon and Colonel
Blair on the other. General Lyon had guaranteed that if
Jackson and Price would come to St. Louis for the pur-
poses of the conference they should have " safe con-
duct " both ways and not be molested while in the city.
The meeting was a historic one. General Lyon, on
being notified of the arrival of Jackson and Price in the
30 THE LOST ARMY.
city, asked them to meet hiin at the United States arsenal.
The wily governor did not consider himself altogether
safe in venturing there, in spite of the safe-conduct that
he held, and suggested that the conference must be held
at the Planters' House, a well-known hotel of St. Louis,
and at that time the principal one. Accordingly the gen-
eral went there with Colonel Blair, and after a few polite
phrases the negotiations began. Present, but not taking
part in the debate, were Major Conant, of General Lyon's
staff, and Colonel Snead, the private secretary of Governor
Four or five hours were consumed in the discussion,
which was an animated one throughout. The governor
demanded that the United States troops should be with-
drawn from the state, and that no recruiting for the union
cause should be permitted anywhere in Missouri. When
the troops were withdrawn he would disband the state
militia, and thus the state would be kept entirely neutral.
General Lyon insisted that the government had the right
to send its troops where it pleased within the boundaries
of the United States, and he would listen to nothing else.
No progress was made by either side, as neither would
yield a point. Finally General Lyon brought the confer-
ence to an end by telling Governor Jackson it was useless
to talk longer, and that in one hour an officer would call
to escort them out of the city.
Lyon and Blair went at once to the arsenal to give
orders for the movement of troops, and within an hour
from the end of the conference Jackson and Price were
on their way to Jefferson City as fast as the railway train
could carry them. On the way they ordered the bridges
over the Osage and Gasconade rivers to be burned, in
order to prevent pursuit.
Early the next morning the governor issued a procla-
mation calling the people of the state to arms, for the pur-
THE LOST ARMY. 31
pose, as he said, of repelling invasion and protecting the
lives and property of the citizens of the state. He also
asked the Confederate government to send a co-operating
force into Missouri as soon as possible, and gave orders
for General Price to take the field at once with all the
troops he could muster.
General Lyon ordered three regiments with two bat-
teries of artillery, under General Sweeney, to occupy the
southwestern part of the state, and by the thirteenth they
were on their way to Springfield by way of Rolla, which
was then the terminus of the railroad in that direction.
The object of this movement was to stop the advance of
any Confederate force coming from Arkansas to help
the Missourians, and also to head off Jackson and Price
in case they marched in that direction. At the same
time General Lyon, with two regiments of infantry and
a battery of artillery, together with about five hundred
regular infantry, went up the Missouri river to Jefferson
City, which they captured on the fifteenth without oppo-
sition, the rebels having left on the day that General
Lyon started from St. Louis.
At the same time that he gave orders for the move-
ments from St. Louis, General Lyon telegraphed to the
commander of the Iowa regiment to which Jack and
Harry were attached, to advance into Missouri in the
direction of Booneville, a flourishing town on the south
bank of the Missouri, and the spot selected by General
Price as the rallying point of the state troops. There was
a considerable amount of war material stored there belong-
ing to the state, and by orders of the governor an arsenal
had been started at Booneville for the manufacture of
cannon and small-arms. Most of the inhabitants sympa-
thized with the secession movement, which was not the
case with the population of Jefferson City, largely com-
posed of Germans.
32 THE LOST ARMY.
Jack and Harry fairly danced with delight when they
found they were to march into the enemy's country.
They regretted that their duties kept them with the
wagon-train, which is not usually supposed to take part
in hattle, and wondered if there was not some way hy
which they could change places with two of the soldiers
and have a share in the fighting. During their first night
on the soil of Missouri they lost a fair amount of blood ;
it was drawn not by the bullets or the sabers of the
enemy, but by the mosquitos with which that region is
abundantly supplied. Jack thought he had spilled at
least a pint of gore in feeding the Missouri mosquitos,
and wondered if he could be fairly charged with treason
or giving " aid and comfort to the enemy."
Jack and Billy.
THE LOST ARMY. 33
ON THE MAECII CAPTURING A REBEL FLAG.
It was a new life for Jack and Harry, and they
greatly enjoyed it. Both declared that they slept more
comfortably on the ground than they had formerly slept
in bed, and as for the distance accomplished in a day's
march it was nothing to them. They cheerfully gave up
their places in the wagons to some of the footsore soldiers,
and trudged along behind the vehicles as merry as larks.
There was very little danger to be apprehended on the
march, although they were technically in the enemy's
country. In the part of Missouri north of the river of the
same name, there were a few straggling bands of state
troops under the command of General John B. Clark, but
nothing like a disciplined force that could offer resistance
to a well-equipped regiment like the First Iowa. When-
ever the regiment approached a town or village, most of
the secessionists fled in dismay, after spreading terrible
stories of the atrocities that the invaders would be sure to
commit as soon as they arrived. Those that remained
were no doubt greatly surprised at the good order that
prevailed and the perfect respect shown to private prop-
erty. Everything required for the use of the soldiers was
fully paid for, and instead of bewailing the visit of the in-
vaders, many of the citizens, even those whose sympathies
were not with the Union, hoped they would come again.
Later in the war things changed a good deal in this re-
spect, as we shall see further on in our story.
34 TUE LOST AEMY.
One town through which the regiment passed, and where
it halted for one day and a part of another to wait orders
for further movements, was reputed to be one of the
worst nests of secession in that part of the state.
Tliere was a hotel in tlie town, and its owner had re-
cently, so Jack learned from a boy of about his age with
whom he established friendly relations, given it the name
of the Davis House, in honor of the President of the
Southern Confederacy. Jack informed the soldiers of
this discovery, and an examination of the front of the
building showed that the former name of the hotel had
been painted out to make a place for the new one.
Immediately a pot of Avhite paint and one of black were
procured, a rough staging was erected, the word " Davis"
Avas painted out, and " Union " took its place. The pro-
prietor protested, but his protest was of no use. He was told
that the Union House would be much more popular than
the Davis House could be by any possibility, and when
they came around again they expected to find the new
name retained. The proprietor said his neighbors would
burn the building over his head if he allowed it to remain
as it was, and as soon as the regiment had gone he set
about changing the obnoxious appellation. But he showed
some worldly wisdom in giving it a new name altogether
instead of restoring what might have brought him into
trouble with future visitors of the kind he had just had.
He avoided both " Davis " and " Union," and called the
establishment the " Missouri Hotel," a name at which
neither side could take offense.
The boy who told Jack about the hotel also informed
him where a rebel flag was concealed. It had been made
by several young women whose sympathies were with the
southern cause, and was intended for presentation to the
captain of a company which would soon leave the comity
to fight on the southern side.
THE LOST ARMY. 35
Jack hastened to Captain Herron, one of the officers of
the regiment, and told what he had heard. The captain
sent a detail of soldiers, under the guidance of Jack, who
led the way to the house of one of the principal inhabit-
ants of the place.
The sergeant in command of the squad of soldiers
i-apped at the door, which was opened by a servant. He
asked for the lady of the house, and very soon a comely
matron of forty or more stood before him.
" We beg your pardon for disturbing you," said the ser-
geant; "but we want a rebel flag that we are told has
been made here recently."
" You shan't come into my house," was the angry reply ;
" and we've no flag for you Yankees."
She was about to close the door in the sergeant's face,
but the latter stopped her from so doing by stepping
foward and holding it open. Then he ordered his men to
follow him, which they did, accompanied by Jack.
" Be kind enough to show us through the house," said
the sergeant ; " we don't want to trouble you, but we must
have that flag."
" If you are after a flag you won't find any," she an-
swered ; " and as for showing a lot of Yankees through the
house, I won't."
The sergeant ordered one man to stay at the front door
and another at the rear, and permit nobody to leave the
house. Then he called the servant, a negro woman, who
had opened the door, and ordered her to show the way
through the rooms. Accustomed to obedience, the woman
did as she was told, her mistress being so overcome with
rage that she did not endeavor to exercise her authority
over the servant.
Jack had told the sergeant that the flag was hidden
between the sheets of a bed in the first sleeping-room
at the head of the stairs ; consequently that was the
36 THE LOST AR3IY.
room which the sergeant intimated he would Uke to see
The room was found and so was the bed, but no flag.
The bed showed signs of very recent disturbance, as
though something had been withdrawn from it. Evidently
the flag had been taken away during the parley at the
door. The room was searched in every part, but no sign
of the flag was found ; then other rooms were examined,
but with the same result.
The soldiers went through the entire house, the sergeant
giving them strict orders to search everywhere, but at the
same time to injure nothing. Just as they were about to
give up the enterprise as a bad job, a brilliant thought
occurred to Jack.
He mounted the stairs again and went straight to the
bed wliich had first been the object of their examination.
Pulling down the bed-clothes, which had been left in a
disordered condition after the investigation of the soldiers,
he found the desired flag and bore it in triumph to the
Then the sergeant withdrew his men, after again apol-
ogizing to the mistress of the house, who was so angry that
she could not, or would not, speak. On the way back to
camp the sergeant asked Jack how it was he knew the flag
was where he found it.
" I sort o' guessed it," replied Jack. " I noticed that
the woman and her two daughters did n't stay with us
while we were rummaging the house, but kept going in
and out of the rooms, leaving the servant to show us
" I thought they were up to something, especially as
one of the daughters did n't show up at all while we were
talking at the door before we went in,
" Now, I flgured out that while we were talking with
the old gal the young one we did n't see was taking the
THE LOST ABMY. 37
flag out of the bed and hiding it somewhere else. When
they saw us at the door they knew what we 'd come for,
and probably guessed we 'd been told where the flag
" Well, after we 'd looked through that bed and all the
room without finding anything, we went on to the next room.
They knew we 'd hunt high and low for the flag, and go
through every part of the house. Now, if you 'd a-been in
their place what would you have done, when you knew
you could n't get out of the house without being seen ? "
" I see it now," said the sergeant, " though I did n't be-
fore. I 'd have watched my chance by going round through
the halls, and put the flag in one of the places that had
been searched, and there would n't have been any better
place than the bed where we first went for it."
" That 's just what I thought," said Jack in reply ; " and
when I saw the old gal give a wink to the young one and
the young one winked back again, it just occurred to me
to go to the bed and have another look."
" You 'd make a good detective," said the sergeant ap-
provingly, and then the conversation turned to the flag
they had captured and the probable use that would be
made of it.
" That 's for the captain to say," replied the sergeant in
reply to Jack's query.
The sergeant turned the flag over to the captain and
the latter duly admired it and praised Jack for his acute-
ness. The secession emblem was a fine one, being made
of the best bunting procurable in St. Louis, whence the
material was specially ordered. It was the regular seces-
sion flag, the " Stars and Bars," and was intended to be
displayed on the battlefield, where the rebels confidently
hoped to put the defenders of the Union to flight at the
first fire. Along the center of the flag the following
couplet had been deftly embroidered by the fingers of the
38 THE LOST ABMT.
young ladies by whom the banner was made, and the lines
were said to have been the composition of the maiden who
so signally failed in concealing the precious standard from
the search of the invaders :
" Federals from thee shall flee,
Gallant sons of Liberty ! ' '
Jack suggested that they should have added the follow-
ing quotation from Robert Burns, as a suitable intimation
of the possibilities in the case :
" The best laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a-gley."
THE LOST AEMY. 39
MAKCHING AND CAMPIXG IX THE EAIX FIRST SHOTS AT THE
When the march across Missouri began tlie weather
was fine, and our young friends, as before stated, were
delighted with campaigning life ; but the fair weather
did n't last.
When they were on the road again, after the affair of
the rebel flag, they found a change of situation. A storm
arose, and they had the disagreeable experience of march-
ing and camping in the rain. Old soldiers think nothing
of rain, though of course they prefer fine weather, but for
new campaigners the first rain-storm is a serious affair.
So it M^as with Jack and Harry.
They had provided themselves with waterproof coats,
which protected their shoulders, in fact, kept them fairly
dry above the knees, but could not prevent the mud from
forming on the ground nor protect the feet of the boys as
they marched along. It was a weary tramp through the
mud, and any one who has traveled in Missouri knows
that the mud there is of a very sticky quality ; in fact,
in most of the western states the soil has a consistency
that is unknown in many parts of the east. When dry
it is hard, and forms an excellent road, though it is apt
to give off" a good deal of dust in specially dry and Avindy
times. When there is much traveling over a road, and
no rain falls for some time, the dust is a great deal more
40 THE LOST ARMY.
But it is in the wet season that the soil of the west puts
in its fine work. The mud has the stickiness of glue witli
tlie soUdity of putty. Eacli time the foot goes down it
picks up a small quantity, very small it may be ; but as
continual dropping will wear away stone, so will continual
stepping convert the foot into a shapeless mass of mud.
Five or ten pounds of mud may thus be gathered upon
each foot of a pedestrian, and it does not require a vivid
imagination to increase the five pounds to fifty. Horses
" ball up " in the same way, and there are many localities
where, under certain conditions of weather, this balling
up is so rapid, and withal so dangerous, as to make travel
next to impossible.
The regiment went into camp that night pretty well
tired out, and it is safe to say that some of the soldiers
wished themselves home again. But if they did so wish
they kept their thoughts to themselves, and each one
pretended to his comrades that it was just what he
To pitch tents on wet ground is the reverse of agree-
able, and to lie down on the ground and try to sleep there
is worse than the mere work of putting a tent in place.
But both of these things must be done, except where
there is no tent to pitch and one must sleep without any
shelter other than the sky. When our armies took the
field in the early part of the war there was a good supply
of tents, so that the soldiers were well protected against
the weather ; but this condition of affairs did not last
long. In the early days there was an allowance of two
wagons to a company, or twenty wagons to a regiment,
without counting the wagons of the field officers and staff.
Later on the wagon allowance was greatly reduced, and
during the closing campaigns of the war the luxuries of
the early days were practically unknown. Tlie army
with the smallest wagon-train can make the most rapid
THE LOST ARMY. 41
progress, as a train is a great hindrance in military move-
Jack and Harry slept beneath one of the wagons, or
rather they tried to sleep, during the steady rain that
continued through the night. In the morning Jack
thought Harry resembled a butterfly that had been run
through a sausage-machine, while the latter retorted that
his comrade looked as if he had been fished out of a mill-
pond and hung up to dry. Both were a good deal be-
draggled and limp, but they would not admit it, and each
danced about as though a little more and a great deal
wetter ram was just what he wanted.
" Tell you what, Harry," said Jack, " it was n't being
wet that bothered me so much as getting wet. I found a
reasonably dry place, and thought I was all right, but
just as I was getting asleep I felt the tiniest little drop of
water soakmg through on the side I was lying on. I
tried to shrivel up so as to get away from it, bat the water
followed me, and the more I shrunk the more it spread.
" Then I thought it would be better if I turned over,
but in turning I let in more water, or rather I suppose I
made a hollow in the soft ground, and that was just old
pie for the water. When I turned I exposed my neck
and got a touch of it there, and so it went on ; at every
move I got more and more of it. By the end of an hour
or so, which seemed all night, I was fairly wet through,
and then I did n't care half so much about it. I went
to sleep and slept pretty well till morning, and don't
believe I 've got a bit of a cold."
" I had about the same sort of a time with the rain,"
said Harry, " and agree with you that the worst part of
it is the feeling you have while the rain is getting its way '
through your clothes and you 're trying to keep it out ;
and all the time you know you can't do it, and really
might just as well give in at once."
42 THE LOST ABMY.
" Never mind now," said Jack ; " what we want is hot
coffee and sometliing to eat."
They had taken the precaution to lay away some sticks
of dry wood in one of the wagons before the rain began,
and therefore there was no difficulty in starting a fire.
All the wood that lay around the camp was soaked with
water, but by careful searching and by ecxually careful
manipulating of the sticks the soldiers and teamsters
managed to get up a creditable blaze by using their dry
wood to start it with.
Hot coffee all around served to put everybody in good
humor, and some hard bread and bacon from the com-
missary wagons made the solid portion of the breakfast.
Harry had secured some slices of cold beef the day before,
and these, which he shared with Jack, made a meal fit
for a king when added to the regular rations that had
been served out. The rain stopped soon after sunrise,
the sun came out and in a few hours the roads were dry
enough to justify the order to move on. Meantime every-
body was busy drying whatever could be dried, and by
noon the discomforts of the first night in the rain had
been pretty well forgotten.
An hour or two after the column started on the road
there was an alarm from the front that threw everybody
into a state of excitement. Rumors were passed from
man to man, and as they grew with each repetition, they
became very formidable by the time they reached the
rear-guard. There was a large force of the enemy block-
ing the way — a whole army, with cannon enough to blow
them all out of existence, and possibly to take the offensive
and march straight to the capital of Iowa.
Every soldier got his rifle in readiness, the wagons were
driven closely up, the rear-guard prepared to meet an
assault that might possibly come in their direction, and
there was all the "pomp, pride and circumstance of
THE LOST ARMT. 43
glorious war " with the band of untried warriors, few of
whom had ever smelt gunpowder in a warlike way.
The excitement grew to fever heat when some shots
were heard, and evidently indicated the beginning of the
battle. Jack and Harry wanted to rush to the front of
the column and take a hand in the affair, but they were
stopped by the quartermaster, who said they would only
be in the way, and had better wait a while until the colonel
sent for them. He ended his suggestion with a peremp-
tory order that they should not leave the wagons without
This was a disappointment, but they bore it as patiently
as they could. They were learning the lesson of military
life, that the soldier must obey his officer and each officer
must obey the word of his own superior, no matter what
it may be. As a consolation to them, and also as an
illustration of what they must expect in the army, the
quartermaster told a story about a volunteer officer durmg
the Mexican war.
This officer had been ordered to do something that he
thought highly injudicious. General Scott was standing
near, and Captain X , as we will call him, appealed to
the general to know what he should do.
" Obey the order," was the brief answer of the general.
" But it 's absurd," replied the captam. " Certainly no
one should obey an order like that."
" Always obey your superior officer," responded the
"But suppose my superior officer orders me to jump
out of a fourth-story window," interposed the captam,
" must I do it ? "
"Certainly," the general answered; "your superior's
duty is to have a feather-bed there to receive you, and
you can be sure he '11 have it. That 's a part of his busi-
ness you have nothing to do with."
44 THE LOST ARMY.
This may sound like exaggeration to the young reader
who has no knowledge of the ways of military life, but
let me assure him that it is nothing of the kind. It is a
principle of army discipline that a soldier or officer should
unhesitatingly obey the orders he receives without asking
for explanations. On the battlefield, regiments, brigades,
divisions, are sent as the commander desires for the pur-
poses of carrying out his combinations and plans. It can
readily be seen that all discipline would be gone and the
combinations and plans could not be carried out if each
subordinate commander required an explanation of the
reason why he was dispatched in a particular direction or
ordered to do a certain thing. Now and then there is an
opportunity which an officer embraces for acting on his
own hook without orders, but the experienced officer al-
ways hesitates lest he lays himself open to censure, and
possibly court-martial and punishment, as he surely would
if subsequent events showed his action to have been
injudicious or disastrous.
The battle turned out to be no battle at all — only a
skirmish with some bushwhackers, in which a dozen
shots or so were exchanged and nobody was hurt. The
advance of the column had come upon a group of men,
some mounted and others on foot, near a bend in the road
where a small stream was crossed. The sight of the
soldiers had disturbed the group ; those who had horses
rode away as fast as they could go, while the fellows on
foot made the best of their way into the bushes, where
they sought concealment. They did not obey the order
to halt, whereupon a few shots were fired at them, which
The shots only served to quicken their pace, and in a
very short time nothing was to be seen of the fugitives.
The quartermaster explained to the youths that the term
" bushwhacker " was applied to the men who were strag-
THE LOST ARMY. 45
gling about the country with arms m their hands, and
did not appear to belong to any regularly-organized body
" Missouri," said he, " is full of bushwhackers, and
there '11 be more of 'em as the war goes on. They 're not
to be feared by a regularly-organized force, but can make
the roads quite unsafe for ordinary travel. The trouble is,
a man may be a peaceful farmer one day, a bushwhacker
the next, and a peaceful farmer again on the third. The
rebels encourage this sort of fighting, as it will compel us
to maintain a large force to keep the roads open as we
advance into the south."
46 THE LOST ARMY.
FROM JEFFERSON TO BOONEVILLE FIRST BATTLE IN MIS-
Let us now return to General Lyon, whom we left at
Jefferson City, which he had occupied without opposition.
The union men gave him a hearty welcome, while the
secessionists received him with many a frown.
Major Conant, of General Lyon's staff, visited the pen-
itentiary, which was full of convicts, who cheered heartily
as he entered. They liad hoped to be liberated when the
rebels left town, and no doubt would have been willing
to enter the service as a condition of getting outside the
stone walls that surrounded them. They had been sepes-
sion in sentiment, but finding the rebels had gone without
them they suddenly clianged their politics and shouted
lustily for the Union when the ofBcer representing the
authority of the United States came among them. A few
only held out and cheered for Jeff Davis and Governor
Jackson, probably for the reason that they believed in
secession, and especially in secession from where they
were. There was gloom all around when they found that
General Lyon had no intention of setting them free, and
that the sole object of the visit of Major Conant was to
see that the prison was properly guarded, and ascertain
that no work on behalf of the rebels was being carried on
The editor of the Exmmner^ a newspaper wliich liad
been advocating secession in the most violent manner,
THE LOST ARMY. 47
called upon General Lyon, and said he had been a union
man always, and was in favor of keeping the state in the
Union, though he had thought differently only a short time
before. There were several cases of equally sudden conver-
sion, but the general did not consider these professions-of
patriotism anything more than skin deep, Missouri was
full of men of this sort^men who were in favor of the
rebellion at heart, but in presence of the Union flag were
the most profound unionists that the country ever saw.
As soon as it was positively known that the fleeing
rebels had decided to make a stand at Booneville, which
was about forty miles from Jefferson City, General Lyon
started in pursuit of them. Loading his troops on three
steamboats, with the exception of three companies of
infantry, which were left to hold possession of Jefferson
City, he started up the Missouri early on the afternoon of
Sunday, June sixteenth, and by sunset reached a point ten
or twelve miles below Booneville, where it was decided to
tie up for the night. Bright and early the next morning
the steamers moved on, and were brought to the bank of
the river six or seven miles below Booneville.
The rebels had formed a camp, known as Camp Vest,
about half-way between this landing-place and the town,
and as they had several cannon there, it was not deemed
advisable to move the steamboats within their range
until the infantry or artillery of the land forces had made
In the gray of the morning the troops were landed, and
the bank of the river presented a scene to which it was quite
unaccustomed. Offlcers were hurrying about here and
there ; companies were endeavormg to assemble, as they
had become a good deal scattered in the hurry of getting
on shore ; the artillery was dragged up the steep slope of
the bank with a vast deal of shouting on the part of the
drivers, including a liberal amount of language that is not
48 THE LOST ARifY.
usually found in theological works ; the saddle-horses of
the officers danced around in endeavoring to show their
satisfaction at getting on land again, and some of them
escaped from the orderlies who were holding them and
were retaken with difficulty. Altogether it was a picture
long to be remembered by those who saw it.
There was no cavalry in the expedition, with the excep-
tion of General Lyon's body-guard of eight or ten Ger-
mans who had been specially enlisted for this purpose.
These men, previous to their enlistment, had been em-
ployed in a butchering establishment in St. Louis. The
story got abroad that German butchers had been enlisted
for the Union army, and, as usual, it was magnified with
each repetition until it seemed that every man who wore
the national uniform was a professional spiller of blood.
Out of this circumstance grew the most terrific predictions
as to what the butchers would do when they got possession
of a place or marched through any part of the state, and
it was for this reason, among others, that so many people
fled in terror when they heard that the Union army was
coming. General Lyon's butchers were as well behaved as
the most fastidious commander could desire ; they were
good soldiers, obedient to their commander, and would
not harm a fly except in the performance of their legiti-
Before seven o'clock in the morning the column was in
motion, the cavalry squad in advance and skirmishers
thrown out for half a mile or so on either side. Very soon
after leaving the landing-place the road ascended a series
of undulating hills or ridges, and the advance had not
gone far on this road before the pickets of the enemy
were driven in. Then one of the cavalrymen rode hastily
back and said that the whole force of the state troops
were drawn up on one of the ridges only a few hun-
dred yards away. The battle was about to begin !
THE LOST ARMT. 49
The regular soldiers and the First Missouri were ordered
forward, the rest of the volunteer regiments were held in
reserve, and the battery commanded by Captain Totten
took position in the middle of the road on one of the
ridges in full view of the enemy on the other side of a
wheat-field that filled the greater part of the hollow from
ridge to ridge. On the ridge held by the enemy the road
was filled with horsemen, while the men on foot were de-
ployed to right and left, slightly protected by fences that
divided the fields.
Captain Totten unlimbered a twelve-pounder gun and
sent a shell right in the midst of the group of horsemen
in the road.
To say that the shell kicked up a great dust is to
describe the result very mildly. It not only kicked up a
dust but it set all the horses to kicking up, and though it
did not kill anybody, as far as was afterwards ascertained,
it emptied a dozen saddles by the rearing and plunging
of the steeds. None of them had ever seen anything of
the kind before. It takes a hardened old horse to stand an
exploding shell, and even then there's some doubt as to
whether he will be quiet under such trying circumstances.
The opening shot of the artillery was rapidly followed
by others, and then the small-arms added their noise to
the firing. Of course the rebels by this time were doing
their best, and the bullets flew thickly, but as is always
the case in battle, most of them were aimed too high.
Here and there a man was wounded, but as General Lyon
had ordered all who were not actually engaged to keep
out of range no harm was done outside the fighting line,
and even there the bloodshed was slight.
In twenty minutes from the time the first shot was
fired the rebels were in full retreat and the unionists were
following them. Not only were the rebels in retreat, but
they were scattered and a good deal demoralized. In jus-
50 THE LOST ARMY.
tice to them it should be said that no commander ever yet
existed who could keep his men completely together in
time of flight under an enemy's fire. Of course veterans
will act better than green troops, but even the hardiest of
veterans will straggle under such circumstances.
The fugitives made no stand until they reached their
camp, and even there they did not tarry long. A few
rounds of bullets and some shots from the artillery set
them again in flight, which was considerably aided by one
of the steamboats that had moved up from the landing-
place and fired two or three rounds from a howitzer just
as it reiiched a point opposite the camp. " Cannon to
right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of
them," as the Light Brigade had at Balaklava, was too
much for the rebel troops to stand.
There was something ludicrous in the appearance of
the camp, as it bore evidence of a very hasty departure on
the part of its late occupants. Meat was in the frying-
pans on the fire, half-baked beans filled the camp-ovens,
and pots of unboiled coffee were standing ready for the
attention of the cook. On the ground lay a ham with a
slice half severed and a knife still sticking in the meat.
The camp-chest of some of the ofiicers was all spread for
breakfast, but those who had expected to take their morn-
ing meal there were now in rapid flight for safety.
A cooked breakfast should not be wasted, so some of
our fellows thought, and they set about devouring what
the fugitives had left. Tents were standing, piles of pro-
visions were heaped up, a good many rifles and other
weapons were scattered on the ground, and altogether the
captors made a satisfactory seizure. One of the oflBcers
found several hundred dollars in a trunk in one of the
tents and thoughtfully put the money in his pocket, in
order, as he said, to hand it to the owner in case he should
ever meet and recognize him.
THE LOST ARMY. 51
THE CAPTURED CAMP — A CHAPLAIn's EXPLOIT.
There were no horses in camp, but there were many
saddles, an indication that tlie camp was evacuated so
hastily that tliere was not time to put the accouterments
on the steeds, wliere tliey belonged. The saddles came
handy to the civilian attaches of the expedition, and so did
the blankets and a good many other things that had been
left behind. A company of infantry was left in charge of
the camp, and then the rest of the column pressed on in
Outside the town there was another brief halt, caused
by the presence of a small company of mounted men, who
evidently acted as a rear-guard, and with whom a few
shots were exchanged. Some of the dignitaries of Boone-
ville came out to surrender the place and beg that private
property should be respected, and while they were parley-
ing with General Lyon and Colonel Blair two steamboats
left the landing in front of Booneville and steamed up the
river. They carried the greater part of the fleeing rebels,
the remainder making their escape by land along the river
And so ended the battle of Booneville. The losses on
the Union side were three killed and ten wounded ; on
the rebel side the number of casualties was never posi-
tively known, owing to the fact that many of the state
troops fled directly to their homes and stayed there, or at
all events were not heard from again. Eight or ten
52 THE LOST ARMY.
were known to have been killed, and about twenty
A year or two later an affair of this sort would have
been regarded merely as a roadside skirmish, but at that
time it was an occurrence of great moment. From one
end of the country to the other the account of it was pub-
lished, and it has become known to history as an impor-
tant battle. Politically it was of great consequence, as it
was the first battle fought in Missouri, if we leave out of
consideration the incidents of Camp Jackson and the day
after, which cainiot be regarded as battles in any sense.
It was the first trial of strength between the state author-
ities of Missouri and the national government, and as a
trial of strength it showed the power of the United States
and the resources and abilities of the government better
than could have been done by a whole volume of proc-
Disciplined troops were brought face to face with raw
recruits who had not received even the rudiments of mili-
tary instruction. Many of them were not even organized
into companies, but had come together hastily at the call
of the governor, and on the day of the battle were trying
to fight " on their own hook." And they learned the les-
son which is generally taught under such circumstances
— that such a hook is a very poor one to fight on.
The greenness of the men is shown by some of the inci-
dents of the day. Reverend William A. Pile, the chap-
lain of the First Missouri, was a muscular Christian, who
showed such a fondness for fighting that he afterward
went into the service and gained the rank of brigadier-
general before the war was over. At Booneville he was
assigned to look after the wounded, and for this purpose
was given command of four soldiers, two of them from
the mounted escort of General Lyon, and two infantrymen
from the First Missouri.
THE LOST ARMY. 53
While looking about the field after the rebels had been
put to flight, the chaplain came suddenly upon a group of
men who seemed uncertain what to do. Most of them
had rifles and shotguns, and might have made it very un-
comfortable for the man of religion.
He hesitated not a moment, but drew his revolver. He
was mounted on a good horse, one of the steeds taken in
the early part of the battle, and had all the dignity of a
captain of cavalry.
Ordering his two cavalrymen to accompany him, and
telling the infantrj^ column — of two men — to follow as
fast as they could, he dashed up to the group and pre-
sented his pistol as though about to fire.
" Throw down your arms and surrender ! " the chaplain
commanded, in a voice like the roaring of a young bull.
The men dropped their arms to the ground, and stood
ill that dazed attitude with which a cow looks at a rail-
" About face, march ! " shouted the chaplain, anxious to
get the fellows away from their weapons before they had
time to collect their senses and make it uncomfortable
for their would-be captors.
Mechanically the men obeyed, and when they were at a
good distance from the guns that had been left on the
ground he halted them to give his infantry a chance to
come up and help surround the prisoners.
The infantry came up, and the prisoners, twenty-four
in all, were duly " surrounded " and marched into camp,
where they were placed among others of their late com-
rades-in-arms. Twenty-four armed men surrounded and
captured by four soldiers and a chaplain is an occurrence
not often known in war. The prisoners were mostly
beardless youths, who had little appreciation of what war
was or is. Only the rawest of soldiers could be captured
in this way and brought safely into the lines, and it re-
54 THE LOST ARMY.
quired all the audacity of which the chaplain was capable
to carry out his enterprise.
Booneville was entered in triumph, and there was great
excitement among the inhabitants, many of whom ex-
pected to be murdered in cold blood after witnessing the
pillaging of their houses and the destruction of everything
that the " Yankee thieves " did not desire to carry away.
The poorer part of the population was generally loyal,
while the wealthier iidiabitants were nearly all in favor
of secession. There were some rich people who were
stanch supporters of the Union, but they had a hard time
of it among their more numerous secession neighbors.
A considerable quantity of rebel stores and arms were
taken at Booneville and in the neighborhood, and alto-
gether the forces that were arrayed under the secession
banner suffered a heavy loss in things that were valuable
to them. The hiding-places of these valuables were pointed
out by union men, who in some instances desired their
identity concealed for fear of the vengeance that would be
visited upon them after the national troops should go
away. They complained that they had been very badly
treated, and several of them had been given a certain
number of days in which to close up their affairs and
leave town. Their time of probation had not ended when
the battle and its result rendered their departure a
matter which the rebels were not exactly able to con-
General Lyon issued a proclamation, in which he briefly
recited the events of the past week and warned the people
not to take up arms against the government. He advised
all who had been in arms to go to their homes, and prom-
ised that all who would do so and remain quietly at-
tending to their own business, should not be disturbed
for past offenses. The proclamation had a good effect,
and the number recently under arms who went home and
TUE LOST ABMY. 55
stayed there was by no means small. Unhappily it was
more than offset by those who responded to the summons
of the governor and went to follow the fortunes of the
army that he was organizing.
Preparations were now made for an advance into the
southwest part of the state, as it was understood that the
rebels would attempt to make a stand there, where they
would be assisted by the troops that the Confederate gov-
ernment was sending to help in getting Missouri out of
General Sweeney was ordered to march from Rolla to
Springfield, and at the same time General Lyon would
move from Booneville toward the same point. Simultane-
ously a column under ]\Iajor Sturgis was to advance from
Leavenworth, Kansas, through the western part of Mis-
souri, and the three columns were to unite near Spring-
field and endeavor to cut off and disperse the rebels that
were concentrating with a view to taking the offensive.
This was the plan, but owing to the absence of railways
it could not be carried out in a hurry.
The First Iowa reached Booneville shortly after the bat-
tle, and most of its officers and soldiers were greatly dis-
appointed to think they could not have had a hand in the
Jack and Harry had their first view of the Missouri
river from the bank opposite Booneville, and M'ere greatly
interested in studying the mighty stream as the ferryboat
carried them across.
As he looked at the yellow flood pouring along with
the rapidity which is one of its characteristics. Jack re-
" I understand now why they call it ' The Big Muddy,'
as it is certainly the muddiest river I ever saw."
" Yes," replied Harry ; " but I don't believe it is as bad
as Senator Benton said of it, ' too thick to swim in, but
53 THE LOST ARMY.
not thick enough to walk on.' Anyhow, we '11 settle that
question by having a swim the first chance we get."
They had their swim, but though they verified the in-
correctness of the distinguished senator's assertion, they
decided that one must be very dirty indeed to be benefited
by a bath in the Missouri ; and they readily believed what
they were told by a resident of Booneville, that in the
time of flood you can get an ounce of solid matter out of
every eight ounces of water from the river.
" Look on the map of the United States," said their ni-
formant, " and see how the Mississippi river has pushed
the delta through which its mouths empty into the Gulf
of Mexico. The land that is formed there has been brought
down by the water that fills the channel of the river ;
some of it comes from the lower Mississippi, but probably
the greater part is from the valley of the Missouri."
THE LOST ARMY. 57
REGULARS AND VOLUNTEERS FORAGING IN THE ENEMy's
Jack and Harry were pretty busily employed about the
camp for the first two or three days following their arrival
at Booneville. After that time they had more leisure, and
were greatly interested in many matters that came under
One of the first things to arouse their curiosity was the
camp of the regular soldiers that formed a part of General
Lyon's expedition. When they heard of this part of the
force they wanted to know what a " regular " soldier
" They are called regulars," the quartermaster explained,
" because they belong to the regular army which the coun-
try maintains in times of peace. Compared with the
volunteer army, the regulars are few in number, but as
long as we have only Indians to contend with they are quite
enough for all practical purposes. In time of peace our
regular army includes only twenty thousand men, but in
case of war the president calls on the different states to
send volunteer troops to the field in such number as may
be wanted. The president called for troops to put down
the rebellion, and the states that remained loyal to the
Union have sent the number required of them in propor-
tion to their population."
" That 's what is meant by the ' quota ' of each state, I
suppose," said Jack.
58 THE LOST ARMY.
" Yes," was the reply. " The quota of a state is made
out according to its population, and there have been some
funny complications arising out of this point. In order
to have as many representatives in Congress as jiossible,
and for other reasons, some of the new states have been
overstating their population, or claiming more inhabitants
than they really have. Now, when it comes to furnish-
ing troops on the same basis, they are trying to under-
state their population, and declare that they made mis-
takes in their previous figures."
" It is like a man claiming to be rich in order to obtain
credit or ' show off,' and then pleading poverty as a reason
for not paying his debts."
" That 's exactly the case," was the reply. " You could
not have made a better illustration."
Neither Jack nor Harry could see that there was any
great difference between the camp of the regulars and that
of the volunteers, excepting that the former seemed to be
under more rigid discipline. When it came to drilling
and performing the evolutions necessary to military life it
was evident that the regulars were greatly the superiors,
but the youths naturally concluded that it was simply a
question of experience. " These regulars," said Jack,
" have been a long v/hile in the service, and had nothing
to do except to learn their business. Wait till the volun-
teers have been the same time under arms, and they '11
come out just as good soldiers."
"Right you are," said the quartermaster, who over-
heard the remark. " It takes time and practice to make
a soldier ; the raw recruit may be just as brave as the
veteran, but one veteran is worth as much as a dozen
raw recruits, for the simple reason that he has been drilled
The youths talked with some of the regulars, and found
that they had not troubled themselves much about the
TBE LOST ABMT. 59
causes of the war nor the questions mvolved in the con-
test. The most they knew was that they were enlisted to
serve under the government. They were there to obey
the orders of their officers, and that was the whole
It was the same with some of the regular oflBcers when
the war broke out, but by no means with all. Some of
them treated the question of loyalty as altogether a
matter over which they had no control ; they were to
support the government, and had no occasion to trouble
themselves about political questions. Others entered
into the political bearings of the subject, and were swayed
according to their predilections. Those born and reared
in the Northern states adhered to the national cause
almost to a man, and served according to the best of
their abilities, while the majority of those who came from
the Southern states considered themselves bound to go as
did their states. These men resigned their commissions
in the army and entered the service of the Confederacy,
though there were some who felt that while they could
not fight against their native states, it would not be com-
patible with honor for them to take arms against the
national government. These officers remained neutral
throughout the war, some of them staying quietly at home,
while others went abroad to be out of the reach of dis-
It was a noticeable circumstance that the spirit of
loyalty to the government was stronger among the
enlisted soldiers of the regular army than among the
officers, in proportion to their numbers. In the instances
where the forts and arsenals in the Southern states were
treacherously surrendered to the secessionists at the
beginning of the war, nearly all the soldiers refused to
serve against the government, even when their officers
urged them to do so.
60 THE LOST AEMY.
Preparations for the march into the southwestern part
of Missouri were pushed as rapidly as possible, but the
difficulty of getting together the necessary wagons and
animals for transportation purposes consumed a fortnight
of valuable time. This time was utilized by the state
authorities, who gathered several thousand men at Lex-
ington and marched thence in the direction of the
Arkansas frontier, where they were to meet the famous
Texan i-anger, Ben McCulloch, who was to come north to
join them. In spite of all his activity General Lyon was
not able to get away from Booneville in season to head
off General Price and the rebels that were serving under
But the rebels came near meeting another obstacle
that they did not know of. General Sweeney, with the
brigades of Generals Sigel and Saloman, marched from
Rolla in the direction of Springfield, and so quickly did
he move that Price had no knowledge of his advance.
As soon as he reached Springfield General Sweeney sent
General Sigel westward in the direction of Carthage to
head off the rebels who were supposed to be under com-
mand of Price. The fact was the latter general had
already gone south with his escort to meet Ben McCulloch ;
the state troops which General Sigel was trying to cut off
were consequently headed by Governor Jackson in person.
The two forces met each other on the fifth of July not
far from Carthage and fought a battle which was very
much like the one of Booneville in the extent of its casu-
alities, though less successful for the Union cause. Sigel's
command was only about one-fourth the number of those
opposed to him ; nearly two thousand of the rebels were
mounted men, although very few of them had any weapons
whatever, a fact which was unknown to the union com-
mander. When he saw this great force pressing on his
flanks, he naturally supposed his column to be in danger,
THE LOST ARMY. 61
and prudently gave the order to retire from the field.
The retirement was effected in good order, and though
the rebels pursued a few miles they inflicted no damage.
The collision delayed the movements of the rebels toward
the southwest, though it did not prevent it, and the
elation which they felt over the repulse of the enemy was
more than an offset for the delay.
On the march from Booneville to Springfield strict
orders were given that there should be no depredating
on private property, the rights of every citizen being
fully respected. The order was very well obeyed, but
it was impossible to carry it out to its fullest extent.
Chickens that did not roost high had a habit of disappear-
ing at night and never turning up again except in the
stewpans of some of the soldiers or possibly in those of
the officers ; pigs that strayed from their pens when the
army was about did not readily get back again, but on
the whole there was not much cause of remonstrance on
the part of the inhabitants.
The most serious complaint was on the part of the
union men, and certainly they had a right to say some-
thing on the subject. The situation was expressed in
this way by one of them who was talking with an officer
in the presence of Jack and Harry :
" Look a-here," said the citizen ; " why don't you-'uns
go and take Jones's corn and potatoes and anything else
you want ? He 's a secesher of the worst sort, and you
ought to make him sweat for it. When the state troops
went through here they took my horses and corn and
wagons and paid me Avith receipts that I can't sell any-
where for five cents on the dollar. I tried to get them
to let me alone, but they said I 'd been saying I was a
union man, and if I was I'd got to help support the war,
and they 'd take everything I had. They did n't touch
Jones, because he 's on their side.
62 THE LOST ARM Y.
" The rebels come along and plunder the union men,
but when you-'uns come you don't touch the seceshers
nor anybody else, except to pay in clean cash for what
you want. It 's a one-sided business anyhow, and if it
keeps on I '11 have to turn secesh to save myself."
This was actually the case for some time in Missouri
and other border-states, and there is no doubt that many
men who were in favor of the Union at the start became
rebels in course of time in order to save their property.
After a while affairs were changed and the men who were
on the side of the rebellion had to suffer when our armies
came in their vicinity. The property of all was seized
wherever wanted. A union man was compensated for
his loss, while a pronounced rebel had great difficulty in
securing compensation, and very often did not get any-
Later in the war Jack and Harry became known for
their expertness in foraging, and many were the chickens
and pigs that fell into their hands. They had splendid
noses for scenting game, and when they could not find
anything edible in a section of country it was pretty
certain that the region had already been swept bare.
The skill acquired by our soldiers in catching " game "
is well illustrated in the way they used to take pigs
while marching at will along the road. A pig would
make its appearance by the roadside along which a regi-
ment was making its way. Some of the foremost men
would throw out a few grains of corn, and, at the same
time word would be passed along the line and several of
the men in the rear would fix their bayonets on their
guns. Piggy, all unsuspicious, would be tolled by the
corn close to the roadside, and as the rear soldiers came
along two of them transfixed the creature through the
neck with a bayonet and swung him in the air. He was
caught in the arms of two other soldiers, who speedily
THE LOST ARMY. 63
disemboweled him, and then cut up and distributed the
meat. It was all done without breaking out of the line
of march, and was characterized by the oflScers as a
" wonderful triumph of mind over matter."
Chickens were the favorite plunder of food-seeking
soldiers, partly on account of their toothsome character
and partly in view of their portability. Pigs and sheep
came next in the line of desirable things, as they could
be subdivided with ease and if necessary with great
64 THE LOST ABMY.
LESSONS IN MULE-DRIVING CKITICAL POSITION OF THE
Our young friends were not long in receiving tlie pro-
motion they desired and certainly deserved. From being
mere attaches, or as Jack expressed it, "adjutants," of
the wagon-train they were raised to the dignity of drivers
each having a team of his own. It was a promotion
at which they were greatly elated, though it brought
additional responsibilities and hard work.
Shortly after leaving Booneville one of the regular
drivers fell ill and was left behind. His place was given
to Harry, who had shown himself fairly competent to fill
it in spite of his youth, and also in spite of his lack of that
accomplishment of the ordinary teamster, a familiarity
Avith profanity. We have already alluded to this pecul-
iarity of the average driver, and the faith possessed by
many people that mules and oxen cannot be successfully
managed except by an expert in swearing. But Harry
got around the difficulty nicely and very much to his
His education was not extensive, and had been confined
to the ordinary branches of the common school. He was
proficient in the three li's : " reading, 'riting and 'rith-
metic," and had made a fair start in grammar and geog-
raphy. While wondering what to do in order to be al)le to
drive a mule team successfully, and at the same time avoid
falling into the use of profanity, he hit upon an idea which
Capturing a Rebel Flag.
THE LOST ARMY. 65
is commended to all readers of this narrative under similar
He picked out the hardest names he could remember in
his geographical studies and determined to make them
the means of propelling obstinate animals and inducing
them to pull properly when pulling was desired. With
the permission of one of the regular drivers he practiced
on the teams and found his plan Avorked ver}' well ; so
well, in fact, that it received the commendation of the
chaplain and of the colonel of the regiment, and further-
more, the team seemed to enjoy it.
" Sebastopol " was one of his favorite expletives, and
when he hurled it at a mule, hissing the first syllable
through his teeth and giving full vent to his voice on the
last, that mule was sure to do his very best until the load
moved or the harness gave way. In the same manner he
found " Calcutta " an expletive of great power, and so was
" Nagasaki " and also " St. Petersburg." When he wanted
something of unusual strength for a momentous occasion
he informed his obstinate animals that " Vienna is the
Capital of Austria," or "the Dutch have taken Holland."
Nothing could surpass the efforts of the team when these
phrases were thrown into the elongated ears of the un-
Harry imparted his plan to Jack, and when that youth
was shortly afterward put in charge of a team which had
been hired at Booneville for the trip to Springfield, he
repeated the experiment. It did not work as well as in
Harry's case, but the reason was found in the fact that
Jack's mules were of Missouri origin and proverbially
ignorant, while those of Harry had come all the way from
Iowa, and had the benefit of a northern training. While
the Northern mules might be supposed to have a thirst
for travel that would make geographical facts sink deep
into their hearts, those of the more southern state were
66 THE LOST ARMY.
content to remain in their ignorance, and, like Jeff Davis,
" all they asked was to be let alone."
" You 're saying that in joke, of course," remarked the
quartermaster when Jack explained the reason of the
difference in the animals of the two states. " But let me
tell you," he continued, " that you 're nearer fact than
you suppose. 'Like master like man' is an old adage,
and why should n't a Missouri mule be like a Missouri
man '? As a general thing the Missouri people have op-
posed everything that tended to the development of the
state. I refer to the slaveholding portion, or those who
sympathize with slavery, though they may have no slaves
of their own."
" How was that ? "
" They were afraid it would interfere with their system
of slavery, as they saw it would bring in a population that
believed in freedom instead of the old state of things.
When the Butterfield Overland Stage Line was established
from St. Louis to California they tried all they could to
stop it ; they declared it was n't needed ; and they did
the same when the Western Union Telegraph Co. wanted
to build a line across the state. They opposed the rail-
ways that have been built in various parts of the state,
and for the same reason, notwithstanding the fact that
the railways would make their land more valuable by
bringing them nearer a market. I have lived in Missouri
and know what I 'm talking about.
" Education has always been much more backward in
the South than in the North, as everybody knows, and it
is the system of slavery that caused this backwardness.
Travel through the Northern states and you see a school-
house in every village and almost at every cross-road, but
in the South you may go hundreds of miles without seeing
a school-house. This one fact speaks volumes in itself and
illustrates the conditions growing out of slavery on the
THE LOST AB3IY. 67
one liand and freedom on the other. A people that do
not want education do not want railways and telegraphs,
or anything- else that indicates progress. Only when the
Sontli gets ]-id of slavery will it wake up and adopt the
institutions of the North."
Regarding the South in the light of the present day,
the words uttered by the quartermaster may be regarded
as prophetic. It is only since the war wiped away the
stain of slavery that the Southern states have vied with
the North in developing their resources and have sought
to have a really intelligent iDopulation. Before the war
education was confined chiefly to the rich or the well-to-
do, the majority of the poor whites being but little above
the negro in the scale of intelligence. Thousands on
thousands of them were unable to read or write, and those
who could do so had little knowledge of the rest of the
Our young friends had frequent opportunities to test
the intelligence of the natives of the region through which
they were traveling, and many of their experiences were
anuising. One day they talked witli a farmer who had
an impression that St. Louis was the largest city in the
world, and practically the only one. He had heard of
New York and Chicago, but had no clear idea of their
location except that they were somewhere in the North,
and did not believe they amounted to much anyway. He
thought Abraham Lincoln was a black man, who had
somehow been made president of the United States by the
abolitionists, and if his armies succeeded in conquering
the South the government would be altogetlier in the
hands of the blacks, who would speedily proceed to en-
slave the rest of the population and " have white men for
Several times they talked with men and women who
were much surprised to find tiie Yankee soldiers were
68 THE LOST ARMY.
white men ; they had expected to see only negroes, and
especially thought it strange that the officers were white
instead of black. A woman at whose house they stopped
to get a drink of water said she did n't mind the white
soldiers, but when it came to the black republicans she
w^ould n't be able to endure them.
" Why, we are black republicans, madam ; or would be if
we could vote," said Jack.
" No, you can't be," was the reply ; " you 're just as
white as we-'uns if you 'd only wash your faces,"
The boys good-naturedly enlightened her on the subject
by explaining that the term " black republicans " was a
derisive one, which 'the Democrats had applied to the
Republican party, and had no reference to the complexion
of those who voted the Republican ticket. They were not
sure that they had convinced her, though they certainly
raised doubts in her mind when she saw the hundreds
and thousands of men that inarched past the place, and all
of them anything but negroes.
Another time they were less successful, as the native
whom they sought to instruct pointed triumphantly to
the colored servant of one of the officers, who was mounted
on a spare horse belonging to his employer.
"Don't talk to me that way," was the angry retort,
" when there 's one of your generals, a regular nigger, on
a black horse."
The joke was too good to be kept, and that evening it
was circulated through the camp. It caused a great deal
of laughter, and for some days the servant who had been
the innocent cause of the mistake Avas addressed by his as-
sociates as " general."
There was no fighting on the march from Booneville to
Springfield, as the state forces under Governor Jackson
and (Tcneral Price were on their line of march consider-
ably farther west, and had a good start. They were being
THE LOST ARMY. 69
followed by a column from Leavenworth, under command
of Major Sturgis, but the pursuers were not able to over-
take them, being delayed at the crossing of a river which
lay on their route. It had been hoped that the rebels
would be caught between the two columns of Sturgis and
Sweeney, and if they bad been thus caught there was an
excellent chance of a Union victory.
As the days wore on after the arrival of the Union
forces at Springfield, the most important town of south-
western Missouri, the situation became critical. It was
known that General Price had formed a camp at Cowskin
Prairie, near the southwest corner of tlie state, to wait for
the reinforcements that Avere promised by the Confederacy,
and it was soon learned that these reinforcements had
arrived and Price was about to move on Springfield.
Altogether General Lyon had about six thousand men
under his command, but many of them were enlisted for
only three months ; the expiration of the time of some of
them was fast approaching, and others were already free
to go home.
General Fremont had been placed in command of the
department, and to him General Lyon sent an earnest
appeal for reinforcements, saying he would be compelled
to retreat unless troops were sent to him. The desired
troops were promised, but before they started the rebels
threatened Cairo in Illinois, and the regiments destined
for General Lyon were sent there instead of going to
southwestern Missouri, as originally intended.
Lyon Avas receiving no reinforcements, while Price was
gaining in strength and adding to the effectiveness of his
men. About the twentieth of July Lyon's force was
weakened by the departure of two regiments of three-
months' men whose time had expired, while tlie time of
the First Iowa (the regiment to wliich Jack and Harry
were attached ) would be out early in August. No wonder
70 THE LOST ABMY.
General Lyon was troubled in mind, and that he sent
urgent appeals to General Fremont for innnediate aid.
News came tliat the rebels were advancing upon Spring-
field and that a great battle was imminent. Jack and
Harry were jubilant at the promise of fighting, but older
ones shook their heads and looked serious. The secession
inhabitants of Springfield were rejoicing over the prospect
of soon being rid of their Yankee visitors ; they could not
conceal their delight, and this circumstance convinced the
thoughtful ones among the unionists that the coming
clash of arms would be anything but a light one.
THE LOST AllMY. 71
A TERRIBLE MARCH A FIGHT AXD A RETREAT.
On the first of August General Lyon marched out on
the road to the southwest and in the direction where the
enemy was supposed to be ; in fact, where it was positively
known that he could be found. Most of the wagons were
left behind, and among- them WTre those driven by Jack
and Harry. Not wishing to miss the chance of seeing a
battle, those enterprising youths accompanied the column
by permission of their regimental quartermaster, and under
promise to return whenever word reached them that they
August is a hot month in that part of the country ; in
fact, it is a hot month, as everybody knows, from one end
ot the United States to the other. Only a few miles were
made on the first day's march from Springfield, but those
few miles witnessed the exhaustion of many of the soldiers.
The next day the column moved on to a place known as
" Dug Spring," probably to distinguish it from the natural
springs which abound through that country. And the
heat of that day was something terrific.
Scores of men, overcome by the sultry atmosphere,
dropped out of the line of march and fell exhausted by the
roadside, where some of them died from the elTects of sun-
stroke. Water was to be found only at long intervals,
and when found the springs were soon rendered muddy
or were completely exhausted by the crowds that rushed
72 THE LOST AR3IY.
In southwest Missouri, as in many parts of tlie southern
states, the spring- wliicli supplies a residence is covered
Ayith a frame building eight or ten feet square, and known
as the springhouse. There are very few cellars in that
region, and the springhouse is used for preservhig milk,
meat and other articles requiring the lowest attainable tem-
perature in the absence of ice. The spring that gave the
name to the locality in question was of this sort, and a
small stream of water flowed from it perpetually, and
probably is flowing still. To realize what happened there,
let us quote from a letter which Harry wrote that evening
to his mother :
" My Dear Mother : I have known wliat it was to be A^ery thirsty,
but until to-day I never knew what it was to suffer — actually suf-
fer — for want of water, thougli I have often thought I knew. It
was one of the hottest days I ever saw in ni}^ life ; tlie road was
just one long line of dust, as no rain had fallen for some time and
the ground was perfectly dry. We had a little skirmishing with
the rebels in front of us, but it was very evident that we only met
small scouting parties of them, as they fell back very soon after
we met them. But so much did the men suffer for want of water
that they didn't care for the enemy, and would have risked their
lives for a cooling drink from a brook or spring.
' ' We had left Wilson's Creek and Tyrol's Creek behind us ; they
are little streams or brooks that ordinai'ily contain onlj^ a few inches
of water, but are said to be small rivers in their way when heavy
rains fall. We went several miles without water, and at length
the head of the column reached a large spring, Avliich they told us
was made by digging in the low ground, and for this reason it was
called Dug Spring.
' ' Of course the first men that came to it rushed into the little
springhouse to quench their thirst and fill their canteens, which
they succeeded in doing. But before they had done so the crowd
around the building was so dense that those inside could not get
out ; everybody was frantically seeking for water, water, water,
and so wild were the men that the officers could not control them.
" They lifted the springhouse from its foundations and threw it to
one side, but this didn't help matters any. As fast as the men came
up and the word was passed that there was a spring there, the
ranks were broken and all that the officers could do was not enough
to keep the men in place. Officers and nien struggled together
for water and all distinctions of rank were lost.
THE LOST ARMY. 73
"The spring \ras soon exhausted and so was a trough close by that
contained water which liad evidently stood there for some days.
A pool a little way below the spring, wliere the hogs had wallowed,
was eagerly sought by the struggling crowd and their feet stirred
the contents so that it was half mud. Soldiers had a hard struggle
to fill their canteens with this stuff, and when they had done so
and came out of the crov.'d they refused to give away a single drop.
One of the newspaper correspondents says he saw an officer offer
five dollars to a soldier for a canteen full of this liquid, and the
soldier refused it, saying he could not get any more and would die
himself unless he had something to drink.
' ' By the time Jack and I got to the spring the water was all gone
and we didn't know what to do, as we were ready to drop with
thirst. Our tongues were swollen and almost hanging from our
mouths, and we felt we could not stand it much longer. I dashed
into the crowd at the spring and saw it was no use ; then I got into
the other crowd at the pool and tore up two handfuls of the moist
earth and carried them to one side. Jack did just like me, and we
managed to squeeze a few di'ops of water out of the earth which
we liad thus secured. We tried it again, others did the same thing,
and somehow we managed to get enough to cool our throats just a
•• We camped this evening on a little creek a few miles further ,on,
and here we are. Tlie men care little for food ; all they want just
now is to get enough water to drink. The camp is in great con-
fusion and if a well-disciplined enemj- should fall on us just now
it would have a good chance of whipping us. They say the rebels
are only a little way ahead of us, and perhaps we shall have a fight
with them to-morrow."
On the next day there was a skirmish, in which a few
men were wounded, and the report was that the rebels
had suffered severely ; but as usual in such cases, especially
at tlie beginning of the war, tlie rumors were far above
tlie facts. As an illustration of this tendency we Avill
take one of the battles of 1861 in whicli tliere were ten
killed on one side and tliirteen on the other, and about
forty wounded. The Union commander estimated tlie
rebel loss "at not less than from three hundred and fifty
to four hundred," wliile tlie Confederate historians said
the Union loss was " from one hundred fifty to two hun-
dred killed, and from three hoiidred to four hundred
Wounded." One of the best reports of a skirmish was
74 THE LOST ARMY.
that of a commander who wrote, "our loss was nothing;
the enemy's is not known, but is certainly three times as
great as our own."
Twenty-four miles from Springfield General Lyon
decided to fall back to that town, as he learned that the
rebels had a force three or four times as great as his own ;
it turned out that these figures were a good deal exag-
gerated, but after making the most liberal deductions it
is certain that they had fully twice his number. He
reached Spiingfield on the fifth of August, and was more
disheartened than ever, No reinforcements had come to
him from General Fremont, and from all indicatious none
were likely to be sent in time to do him any good. He
had two alternatives : to fight a battle with great odds
against him, or to fall back to Rolla, the terminus of the
railroad, without a fight.
At a council of his officers it was decided that the moral
effect of retreating \vitliout a battle would be greater than
after one ; unless, indeed, the army should be so badly de-
feated that escape would be impossible. The rebels ad-
vanced and camped on Wilson's Creek, ten miles from
Springfield. It has become known since that there was
a bitter quarrel between General's McCulloch and Price,
and in consequence of this quarrel the rebels did not come
at once to attack Springfield.
McCulloch was carrying out the policy of the Con-
federate government, which just then did not favor push-
ing the war into the border states ; while Price wanted to
take the offensive against the national government and
push the Union forces quite out of the state of Missouri.
He was for fighting and pushing on, while McCulloch was
opposed to anything of the kind ; not on account of cowar-
dice, be it understood, for he was as brave a soldier as the
Confederacy produced during the war, but for political
reasons, which have just been mentioned. He was only
THE LOST ARMY. 75
induced to march upon Springfield by General Price giv-
ing up the command to him, and furthermore hy the threat
of the latter that if McCulloch still refused to advance,
he (Price) would alone advance with his Missourians and
give battle to the Union forces.
On the eighth of August Price learned that Lyon was
fearful of an attack, and was making preparations to
abandon Springfield. lie urged McCulloch to advance
at once, but the latter would not do so. On the ninth it
was decided that an attack would be made on Springfield
the next day, and the troops were ordered to be in readi-
ness to move at nine o'clock that night. But the plan
was changed on account of a slight rain which fell towards
evening and threatened to continue during the night.
Many of the Missourians had no cartridge-boxes and were
obliged to carry their ammunition in their pockets ; con-
sequently, a rain would have spoiled their cartridges and
made these soldiers useless in a fight.
To what slight causes do we often owe the course of
The rain which stopped the Confederate advance did
not interfere with the plan which General Lyon formed
during the day after consultation with his officers. It was
to move out on the night of the ninth and be ready to at-
tack by daylight on the tenth. The rebels were camped
along Wilson's Creek for a distance altogether of about
three miles, and it was not likely that they expected
General Lyon would seek to trouble them with his greatly
inferior numbers. As they expected to move at daylight,
to attack Springfield, they had drawn in their pickets, and
consequently were not aware of the Union advance until
it was close upon them. General Lyon's plan was to
attack both ends of the rebel camp at the same time,
and for this purpose he divided his forces, sending
General Sigel with his own and Colonel Solomon's regi-
76 THE LOST ARMY.
ments of infantry, a battery of six guns and two com-
panies of ]-egular cavalry to attack the right wing of the
rebels on the east side of the Fayetteville road. At the
same time he proposed, with the remainder of the Union
forces, to fall upon the other wing of the enemy's camp.
The movements were to be so timed that the attack would
be made at daylight, and General Sigel, in case he got first
into position, was to wait for the sound of General Lyon's
On this plan the two forces marched out of Springfield
on the evening of the ninth. To how many men was that
the last march, including the brave commander of the
Union army of southwest Missouri !
Each column by midnight had reached a point about
four miles from the rebel camp, and within sight of some
of the rebel camp-fires. There the men bivouacked on the
field, and waited anxiously for the coming dawn. Day-
light glimmered at length in the east, and, with as much
silence as is possible to an advancing army, the march was
TH£ LOST AIi3IY. 77
BATTLE OF WILSOn's CKEEK. DEATH OF GENEKAL LYON.
Heke is a description of the battlefield of the tenth of
August, 1861, by a gentleman who was there on that oc-
casion, and afterward visited the spot when he could do
so without danger from shells and bullets.
As you go south from Springfield there is a compara-
tively level country for several nnles, but in approaching
the creek which gives the name to the battlefield
you find a more broken region. The valley of the creek
is bordered by low hills, and at the time of the fight
these hills were covered with scrub-oaks, which were
generally known to the natives as " black-jacks." These
trees are so thickly scattered in many places that it is im-
possible to see for any distance, and on the day of the
battle they masked the movements of the opposing
armies from each other and led to several surprises.
The Fayetteville road going south crosses the creek at
a ford and then runs almost parallel to the course of
the stream for nearly a mile. On this part of the road and
along the creek the main body of the Confederates was
encamped, and the camp extended up a tributary of
Wilson's Creek known as Skegg's Branch. Between
Skegg's Branch and its junction with ^Vilson's Creek is a
steep hill, perhaps a hundred feet high, its sides seamed
with ravines and its toj:) broken with rocks in many places,
so that wagons and artillery cannot be freely moved about.
78 THE LOST ARMY.
This was known as Oak Ilill at the time of the battle, and
has since been called Bloody Hill by the Confederates in
memory of the slaughter that took place there. It was
the scene of the principal fighting of the day and of the
death of General Lyon.
During the war it often happened that engagements
were called by different names by the opposing forces.
Thus the battle now known as that of Shiloh was origin-
ally called the battle of Pittsburg Landing by the Northern
side and Shiloh by the South. The battle of Pea Ridge
was so named by the Northerners, but it was known
as Elkhorn Tavern by the Soutli. Li the same way
the battle of Wilson's Creek, as the North knew it, Avas
the battle of Oak Hill to the South. In fact, it had three
names, as General Price in his official report called it the
l)attle of Springfield.
Oak Hill, or Bloody Hill, was covered with low bushes
in addition to the scrub-oaks already mentioned, but the
underbrush was not thick, and did not particularly inter-
fere with movements of troops or individuals, thougli it
caused the lines of the soldiers to be considerably broken,
and furnished a complete screen to men lying down. The
rebels were camped at the foot of the hill, and its summit
afl:'orded a good view of the greater part of the Confederate
General Lyon reached the farther slope of the hill
before his approach was discovered. His advance was
first made known to the Missourians, who were camped
in that vicinity, and whose commander liad sent out a
picivct about daylight. Tlie fii'st encounter was between
Captain Plunnner's battalion of regulars and Colonel
Hunter's Missouri regiment, the latter falling back as their
commander saw the strength of the forces opposed to him.
General Lyon advanced as rapidly as jjossible, and soon
had possession of the crest of the hill.
THE LOST ARMY. 79
The whole force of General Lyon which he had on the
field on that terrible morning was about live thousand five
hundred men, of whom one thousand two liundred were
with General Sigel and three thousand three hundred
under his own personal direction. General Sigel's forces
have been enumerated. Those of General Lyon were
Captain Plumraer's regulars, the batteries of Captains
Totten and Dubois — ten guns in all. Steel's battalion of
three hundred regulars, Osterhaus's battalion of volun-
teer infantry, and the volunteer regiments of the First
Missouri, First Iowa and First and Second Kansas. Ac-
cording to their own figures the Confederates were ten
thousand one hundred seventy-five strong, about half of
them belonging to the Missouri state guard and the other
half to the forces that had been sent from Arkansas and
Louisiana to aid the Missourians in recapturing the state
from the national government.
Let us turn for a moment to General Sigel. Ilis part of
the plan of attack was perfectly carried out. He arrived
before daylight in the position assigned to him and had
his guns in position and his troops drawn up ready to
begin the attack as soon as he heard the sound of Lyon's
guns. From the point where he stood he could look down
upon the rebel camp and see the cooks busy with their
preparations for breakfast, and he so arranged his skir-
mishers that they captured every man who straggled out
of camp, and thus prevented any warning of the presence
of an enemy. Anxiously did he wait for the signal to
begin the attack. He and his officers around him saw
that they would make a complete surprise of the part of
the camp they were to attack, and already felt sure that
the battle would be in their favor.
It was a few minutes past five when the first of
the rebels were encountered by Lyon's advance, and
by five-thirty the battle had begun. Captain Totten
80 THE LOST ABMY.
planted his artillery in a good position and threw a 12-
pound shell into the enemy's camp. Shell after shell
followed from his batteries and Dubois's, and then the
sounds of Sigel's cannon were heard answering from the
other end of the line.
A rebel officer afterward told the Avriter of this story
that he was asleep in his tent when an orderly came to
tell him to get his regiment under arms, as the Yankees
" Is that official ? " queried the officer, as he languidly
raised his head.
Before the orderly could answer the sound of a camion
was heard, and a shell tore through the tent and narrowly
missed its occupant.
No explanation was needed. " Well, that's official,
anyhow," exclaimed the officer as he sprang from his
blankets and went through whatever toilet he had to make
with the greatest celerity.
Sigel's shot fell among the Arkansas and Louisiana
troops, while those of Lyon were delivered at the Mis-
sourians. Very quickly the rebel forces were under arms ;
their tents fell as though by magic, and from a peaceful
camp the spot was changed into a scene of war as by the
wand of a magician.
The scrub-oaks and underbrush masked the move-
ments of the rebels and enabled them to form their line
quite near that of Lyon's forces without being seen.
They waited for Lyon's advance, which was not long
delayed, and as the Union troops came advancing through
tlie bushes they were met by a withering fire from the
rifles of the jMissourians at close range. This was on the
slope of Bloody Hill, and on this hill for five hours the
battle raged between the opposing forces.
Neither side attempted a bayonet charge, as the ground
was quite unsuited to it on account of the density of the
THE LOST ARMY. 81
brush and the uncertainties that might he behind it. Most
of the Missourians were armed with ordinary shotguns and
hunting-rifles ; consequently they could not have attempted
a bayonet charge, even though other circumstances had
The opposing lines advanced, retired, advanced again,
and often were not more than fifty yards apart. Some-
times the ground was held and contested for several
minutes, and at others only for a very brief period. Now
and then came a lull, when for half an hour or so hardly
a shot would be fired, the antagonists each waiting for
the next move of their opponents. The stillness at these
times was almost painful and in marked contrast to the
roar and rattle of the small -arms and the deep diapason
of the artillery whenever the battle was renewed.
The ground was strewn with dead and wounded.
Here lay a body stiff and still in the embrace of death, and
close beside it another writhing in the agonies of flesh
torn by bullets or by splinters of shell. Rebel and Union
lay side by side as the line of battle changed its position,
and beneath more than one of the dwarfed oaks that
spread over the now-memorable field the blue and gray
together sought shelter from the August sun and from
the leaden rain that fell pattering among the leaves.
Down by the base of the hill flowed the creek, apparently
undisturbed as ever. The waters invited the thirsty to
partake, but whoever descended to drink from the rip-
pling stream, or to fill a canteen for the wounded, who
piteously begged for relief, did so at the risk of his life.
The creek was commanded by the rifles of the Missourians
concealed in a wheattield on the opposite side, and not
till the end of the battle was their position changed.
The attack of General Sigel upon the rebel camp on his
side of the line was as successful as it was sudden. The
camp was abandoned, and his soldiers marched through
82 THE LOST ARMY.
it without opposition to form along the Fayetteville road
and be ready to cut off the retreat of the rebels whenever
they should be put to flight by General Lyon.
After the first shock of the battle was over, General
McCulloch carefully reconnoitered the position of General
Sigel, and in consequence of the protection afforded by
the oaks and underbrush he was enabled to do so without
being seen. Ascertaining their position with great ex-
actness, he brought up two batteries and placed them
within point-blank range of Sigel's line, and at the same
time advanced the Third Louisiana. All this was accom-
plished while Sigel still supposed the entire Confederate
force was engaged with Lyon ; the complete screen of the
trees and bushes rendering the concealment possible.
The Third Louisiana was uniformed in gray exactly
like the uniform of the First Iowa. When it approached
it was mistaken by Sigel's men for the latter regiment,
and the word passed along the line that friends were
As the gray-coated rebels came up the fire of Sigel's
men was withheld and flags were waved in welcome. The
advancing enemies reserved their fire and moved steadily
forward, and before they were near enough to be recog-
nized the two rebel batteries opened with full force upon
Sigel and his astonished soldiers.
The latter were thrown into consternation, which was
increased when the gray-coated men, still supposed to be
friends, charged straight upon them and in a few moments
had taken possession of five out of the six guns. LTntil it
was too late, the Germans under Sigel believed that the
regiment approaching them was the First Iowa, and with-
held their flre, with consequences easy to foresee.
Their rout was complete. Many were killed or wound-
ed and many more captured. About four hundred of
Sigel's men answered at the next roll-call ; some escaped
THE LOST ARMY. 83
and joined the retreating column the next day, and a por-
tion of the column took the road through Little York and
reached Springfield without further encounter with the
This happened about nine o'clock in the forenoon, and
from that time on the rebels could concentrate their at-
tentions upon General Lyon, Sigel being no longer in their
way. They did so concentrate, and by ten o'clock Lyon
was very hotly pressed. Fresh troops were poured in by
the rebels, but Lyon's whole force had now been engaged,
and was steadily melting away. The rebels were assem-
bling for a fresh attack, and the peril of the L'nion force
was imminent. Unless they could break the rebel hue
before it was ready to advance, the day was in great dan-
ger of being lost.
84 THE LOST AEMY.
AFTER THE BATTLE A FLAG OF TRUCE.
On- the whole battlefield there was no man more calm
and collected than General Lyon, notwithstanding the
great responsibility that rested upon him and the fearful
odds against which he fought. Now on horseback and
now on foot, he moved among his men, encouraging them
by his manner and with now and then a few brief words,
making suggestions to his officers, listening to the reports
of his aids, calling back those who sought to flee and
steadying those who showed signs of giving way, rallying
the lines where they began to break and closing up gaps
between companies and regiments, he seemed a tower of
strength where it was greatly needed.
"When it became apparent that Sigel had been routed,
and not only could no help be expected from him, but the
regiments of the enemy which had been engaged with
him would now be turned in the direction of the main
column. General Lyon remarked to an officer that he
feared the day was lost. "But we will make another
effort to save it," said he ; and with this remark he
moved to give some directions to Captain Totten, who
was serving his battery on the brow of the hill.
He was close to the most advanced section of the
battery when his horse was killed by a cannon-shot, and
the general was somewhat stmined by his fall to the
ground. The colonel of the Second Kansas had been
wounded ; the regiment was close in line with the First
THE LOST ARMY. 85
Iowa, and with these regiments General Lyon undertook
to lead an advance against the enemy, when he was
struck down by a bullet. He fell into the arms of his
faithful orderly, Lehman, who had kept close to his side,
and breathed only a few times after the latter had laid
him gently on the ground.
Thus fell one of the truest soldiers, one of the purest
patriots, one of the most devoted men in his country's
cause that the world has ever seen. He loved his country
for his country's sake, and hated slavery and all its con-
comitants with deadly hate. While it existed he tolerated
it, because it was one of the institutions of the land ; but
when it raised its hand for the destruction of the Union,
he was its most uncompromising foe. He believed in no
half-way measures, in no patched-up peace ; and when
the governor of Missouri set up the theory of the right of
the state to refuse to send troops to the war or permit
their enlistment within her boundaries. General Lyon
would neither offer nor accept any compromise. He held
that the national government was paramount to the
state or any other local authoritj% and considered the
question one not to be argued.
In fighting the battle in which he lost his life he did so,
not that he was confident of victory, with the odds so
greatly against him, but because he considered it better
to fight and take the chances of defeat, rather than not
fight at all. He justly believed that a well-fought battle,
even if lost, would leave no room for the charge, which
the rebels were making daily and hourly, that the
Northern men were cowards, who dared not fight. He
knew that a retreat would enable the Confederates to
overrun all that part of the state as far as the Missouri
river; that it would give great encouragement to the
secessionists all through the state, and would equally
discourage the friends of the Union cause. There was a
86 THE LOST ARMY.
hope — just a hope — that he might win, and so he risked
the battle and prejjared to abide by its results.
After the death of General Lyon the command fell
upon Major Sturgis, who immediately consulted the rest
of the officers as to what should be done. Ammunition
was nearly exhausted, the rebels were pressing hard, and
it was speedily decided that the only safety lay in retreat,
as a continuance of the battle would simply lead to
greater slaughter without any prospect of victory. And
so a retreat was ordered.
The withdrawal was made in good order, the enemy
making no attempt to follow. It has been stated that
the rebels were at that moment contemplating a retreat
from the field, and had not the Union troops withdrawn
they would soon have found themselves victorious. This
statement rests upon report rather than authority, and
certainly the Confederate historians do not give any
credence to it. Some ground for the statement may be
found in the fact that the last repulse of the rebels before
the order for retreat was given was a severe one, and
resulted in a disorderly retirement of the attacking
column. At one time the rebels were within twenty feet
of the muzzles of Totten's guns, and it was only by the
most determined resistance on the part of the infantry
supporting the battery that the assailants were driven
Most of the wounded were brought from the field in
the wagons and ambulances that followed the column,
but so great was the number that there was not room for
all. Many were left on the ground, and so was the body
of General Lyon, which was afterward recovered by a flag
of truce that went out in charge of one of the young doc-
tors attached to the service, partly to recover the body
and partly to care for or bring in the Avounded. Our
young friend Harry was detailed to drive one of the
THE LOST ARMY. 87
wagons that went to the field with the flag of truce.
Greatly to their disappointment both the youths had re-
ceived strict orders to stay with the wagons on the day
of battle, so that they did not see anything of the moment-
ous events of the day. In the distance they heard the
firing, and now and then could get a glimpse of a column
of men in motion, but so far as the actual battle was con-
cerned they practically saw nothing.
The flag of truce was gone several hours, and did not
return until evening. It was successful in its mission,
and those in charge of it were courteously received by the
Confederate officers, though they met with many scowls
on the part of the rebel soldiers. Until the flag of truce
appeared the rebels were not aware of General Lyon's
death, and of course when they heard of it they considered
it an additional laurel for their side. General Price sent
Colonel Snead, his adjutant-general, to identify the body
of the fallen hero and deliver it to the men who came for
it, and he did so. Here is his account of the incident,
together with his estimate of the general's character :
« General Price thereupon directed me to identify Lyon's
body, and to deliver it to the bearer of the flag of truce.
It had been borne to the rear of the Federal line of battle,
and there, under the shade of an oak, it lay, still clad in
the captain's uniform which he had worn just two months
before when, relying upon the strength of his manhood,
on the might of his government, and on the justice of his
cause, he had boldly defied the governor of the state and
the major-general of her forces, and in their presence had
declared war against Missouri and against all who should
dare to take up arms in her defense. Since that fateful
day he had done many memorable deeds, and had well
deserved the gratitude of all those who think that the
union of these states is the chiefest of political blessings,
and that they who gave their lives to perpetuate it ought
88 THE LOST ABJ\1Y.
to be forever held in honor by those who Hve under its
flag. The body was dehvered to the men who had come
for it — dehvered to them with all the respect and courtesy
which were due to a brave soldier and the commander of
an army, and they bore it away towards Springfield,
whither the army which he had led out to battle was
slowly and sullenly retreating."
Colonel Snead adds :
" The Confederates remained upon the field which they
had won, and ministered to the wounded and buried the
dead of both armies. Before the unpitying sun had sunk
behind the western hills, all those who had died for the
Union and all those who had died for the South had been
laid to rest, uncofiined, in the ground which their man-
hood had made memorable and which their blood had
made sacred forever."
Jack was waiting for Harry when the latter returned,
and as soon as the team had been unharnessed and the
animals fed, the two youths had an animated talk.
" The doctor told me to drive as fast as I could," said
Harry, " and you can be sure I did. He had the flag of
truce — a big napkin or towel tied to a stick — and this he
kept waving in front of the wagons as we went along.
We did n't see anybody until we got pretty near the
battlefield, and then we came upon a picket of fellows in
butternut clothes and armed with shotguns and squirrel
rifles. Yes, we did see somebody, as we passed several
of our wounded soldiers who had tried to follow the army
on its retreat, but were too weak to do so and had sat
down by the roadside or were still hobbling on as fast as
they could. One poor fellow of the First Iowa, who had
been shot in the leg, was using his gun for a crutch. He
asked for a drink of water and we gave it to him, and we
gave water to some of the others, who seemed to need it
badly. The doctor says a wounded man always suffers
THE LOST ABMY. 89
terribly from thirst, and one of tlie first tilings he always
asks for is water.
" When we got to the rebel picket they stopped us and
at first would n't let us go on or send inside to the com-
manding officer or anybody else in authority. But the
doctor good-naturedly said they could see for themselves
that he was the bearer of a flag of truce — that he had a
message to deliver, and the best way to find out whether
he ^v^as right or wrong was to send to the nearest com-
missioned officer and ask him to come there.
" This appealed to the common sense of the sergeant,
who did n't seem to be a bad fellow, but simply ignorant.
He sent for his captain, and in a little while the captain
came. It was hard to distinguish the captain from the
soldiers, as they were all dressed alike ; some of them had
pieces of red cloth sewed on their sleeves, and the captain
had stripes on his shoulders that looked just a little like
"The doctor delivered his message, and the captain
told him to wait awhile till he could report to General
Price. Then the fellows of the picket began to talk to us,
and we got on pretty well, though we thought they boasted
a little too much under the circumstances about having
just licked our army and made us go back to Springfield.
" Tiiey asked us for tobacco, but we had n't any, and
then they hinted that a little coffee would taste very well.
We told them we had been short of coffee for the last two
weeks. Tbey would hardly believe us, but declared that
while we had n't had as much as we wanted, they had
been forced to go without it altogether. Fact is, they
did n't look as though they had been well fed. One of
'em took an ear of corn from his pocket and said it was
to be his supper, his breakfast having been just like it.
" The captain came back with another officer, and then
we went on to where the general's body was lying. The
90 THE LOST ARMY.
soldiers crowded around us, the same sort of butternut
fellows as we met at the picket. One of 'em started to
say something insulting to us, but the captain shut him
Lip with a word, and after that the only affronts we had
were scowls and occasional mutterings about the Yankees
and Dutch. The captain came with us to the place where
the picket was, and then let us go. The doctor thanked
him for his politeness, and offered him a cigar, which he
accepted with the remark that it was the first he had seen
for two mouths."
TEE LOST ARMY. 91
LOSSES IX BATTLE THE KETREAT.
"We expected to pick up one or two of the wounded men
into my wagon on our way back," said Harry, " but found
we did n't liave to. Tlie other wagons had followed close
behind us, and gathered up all who could n't walk or take
care of themselves. Some of the country people were out
looking after them, too, and by this time everybody ought
to be cared for in some way. But, of course, there '11 be a
great deal of suffering under the best of circumstances, as
there is a great number of wounded men on both sides."
And Harry was right ; there was a great number of
wounded in proportion to the number of men engaged. It
has been said by students of Avarfare that down to that time
there had never been in the United States a battle in which
the proportion of casualties was as great as at Wilson's
Creek, and without stopping to examine the histories of
all previous battles this is a safe assertion. Let us look
at the figures :
The total of the Union forces was not far from five
thousand four hundred, including officers and men. They
lost in the battle two hundred and fifty-eight killed, eight
hundred and seventy-three wounded, and one hundred
eighty-six missing, a total of casualties of one thousand
three hundred and seventeen ; or, deducting the missing,
we have of killed and wounded on the field of Wilson's
Creek, one thousand one hundred and thirty-one, or more
than one in five of all who were present; and it is
92 THE LOST ARMY.
generally considered by military men that where the killed
and wounded are one-tenth of the total on the field the
battle is a severe one.
The rebel reports place their effective force on the tenth
of August at ten thousand one hundred and seventy-five, of
which two hundred and seventy-nine were killed and nine
hundred and fifty-one wounded, a total of one thousand two
hundred and thirty, or about one man in nine of the whole
force. Even this was a heavy loss, but much smaller in
proportion when compared with that of General Lyon's
Colonel Blair's regiment, the First Missouri, had seven
hundred and twenty-six men under arms when it went into
battle. Its loss was three hundred and thirteen, or almost
one-half its entire number. Seventy-seven of its men
were killed, ninety-three dangerously wounded, one hun-
dred and twenty-sixotherwise wounded, two were captured
and fifteen were missing at the next roll-call. The First
Kansas lost two hundred and ninety-six men out of seven
hundred and eighty-five ; the Second Kansas, the First Iowa,
and in fact all the other regiments on the field lost severely,
but not as heavily in proportion as did the First Missouri
and the First Kansas.
Another notable circumstance of the battle was the
large number of those engaged in it under Lyon who
afterward rose to high rank. From that little army eight
officers rose to be major-generals before the end of the
war, and thirteen to be brigadier-generals. Many of the
men who fought in the ranks became captains, majors
and colonels. In 1863 thirty-two commissioned officers
were in the service from one company of the First Iowa,
and twenty-eight from one company of the First Missouri.
And through all tlie noble records they made during the
war for the preservation of the Union, one of their proud-
est boasts was, " I was at Wilson's Creek with Lyon."
THE LOST ARMY. 93
Among those who rose to be major-generals were Scho-
field, Stanley, Steele, Granger, Sturgis, Herron, Sigel and
Osterhaus ; while of the brigadier-generals were Carr,
Plumnier, Halderman, Mitchell, Dietzler, Sweeney, Totten,
Clayton and Gilbert. Some of these officers covered them-
selves with glory in subsequent campaigns, and their
names are familiar to the veterans of the war and will
live in the history of the country.
All this time we have left Jack and Harry talking about
the battle, .and particularly about the experience of the
latter in accompanying the flag of truce.
Their conversation was cut short by an order to be in
readiness to move at any moment. Evidently this meant
that the army was to abandon Springfield, which it could
hardly hope to hold for any length of time after the result
of the day's fighting.
" If they '11 allow us," said Jack, " we '11 keep our wagons
close together and help each other all we can."
" Of course we will," was the prompt reply. " We shall
probably follow our regiment, unless the train gets mixed
up on the road and the wagons are scattered."
" I don't know much about it," said Jack, " but it seems
to me that the rebs could make it very lively for us if
they wanted to. Here we 've got a long train of wagons,
we're a hundred and thirty miles from the end of the rail-
way, and there's a river to cross on the way, besides lots
of small streams and miles of woods, where they could
drop on us at any time before we knew they Avere there."
" Anyway, we '11 hope for the best," responded Harry,
" and see how things turn out. Wonder who 's to com-
mand the army now that General Lyon 's dead ? "
" I don't know. We '11 find that out, though, pretty
Before the march began they ascertained that the retreat
was to be conducted by General Sigel. Major Sturgis,
94 THE LOST ARMY.
who had assumed command immediately after Lyon's
death, refused to hold it longer, on the ground that Gen-
eral Sigel's commission in the volunteer service was
superior to his own as a major in the regular army. Ac-
cordingly General Sigel assumed command with the assent
of all the regular officers, and ordered a retreat to Rolla.
Had the rebels chosen to give trouble they could have
given a great deal. The road to Rolla was none of the
best. It was crowded with the wagons of Union men
who were fleeing in terror at the threatened approach of
the rebels, and the army had a train of wagons nearly
five miles long to encumber its movements. If the rebels
had attacked it on the road, they would have had a great
advantage over the soldiers who had been defeated at
Wilson's Creek. Brave as these men were, a defeated
army is never as good at fighting as one that has not
suffered in that way.
But the retreating army was not molested, and in five
days it had crossed the Gasconade river and was in a place
of safety. As soon as it had passed the Gasconade Major
Sturgis discovered that he was really the ranking officer,
owing to the expiration of Sigel's commission, or some
technicality concerning it, and therefore he demanded the
Sigel was disinclined to yield it then, but rather than
have trouble he did so, though had he foreseen the result
it is quite probable that he would have refused. The
commanding officer was entitled to write the report of
the battle, and accordingly the report was written by
Major Sturgis. At that time there was a great deal of
ill-feeling on the part of many of the regular officers to-
ward the volunteers. They looked with contempt, often
undisguised, upon the soldiers who had come from civil
pursuits or had not made military matters the occupation
of their lives. This feeling gradually wore away, though
THE LOST AEMY. 95
it was never entirely obliterated, but in the early part of
the war there was much more of it than was good for the
General Lyon had none of this feeling, but this was far
from being the case with the regular officers under him.
And their contempt for volunteers was especially strong
toward the Germans. They had few good words for the
Teutons who wore the blue, especially when those Teutons
were commissioned officers.
General Sigel, having brought the column from its peril-
ous position at Springfield to a point where it was out of
danger, certainly deserved to have something to say about
the official report, especially when that report placed upon
him the responsibility for the defeat of the Union forces
and the victory of the rebels. It should be remarked that
the official reports do not show any loss in killed and
wounded on the part of the two companies of regular cav-
alry that accompanied Sigel in the battle of Wilson's
Creek, though four men are reported missing from one of
those companies. With the exception of these four miss-
ing men all the loss of Sigel's column was borne by his
infantry and artillery, all volunteers and nearly all Ger-
At daybreak on the morning of the eleventh of August
tlie head of tlie retreating army marched out of Spring-
field in the direction of RoUa and the rising sun. Five
miles from Springfield there is a road coming in from the
direction of Wilson's Creek, and it was feared that the
rebels might have pushed on a force during the night to
contest the passage of the fugitives beyond this point.
Had they done so, the great wagon-train would certainly
have been in peril.
But no enemy appeared, and there was an agreeable
disappointment on the part of many of those in retreat.
To none was this more the case than to Harry and Jack,
96 THE LOST ABMY.
who did not relish the idea of losing their wagons and
the property in their charge. Somehow the horses and
mules seemed to catch the spirit of retreat and to feel that
they were in danger. One of the drivers declared that he
had never known them to pnll half as earnestly as they
did on the first day out of Springfield, He was sure they
were solid for the Union and did n't want to fall into
Johnny Reb's hands.
All along the road there was the wildest alarm among
the inhabitants who had espoused the Union cause. They
felt that their lives would be in peril as soon as the army
had passed, and many of them had already packed their
wagons and were fleeing toward Rolla with whatever
household goods they could carry away. Tliey abandoned
homes and farms, everything that they were unable to
carry, and the spectacle presented by these fleeing refugees
was a pathetic one. They filled the road both in front of
and behind the army, and for weeks and weeks after-
ward a steady stream of them poured into the Union lines.
We shall have more to say about these unfortunates by
At last, after many trials and tribulations, the disheart-
ened and weary army was encamped at Rolla, where the
welcome whistle of the locomotive resounded through the
air. The campaign of the southwest was ended, and the
footsore warriors had an opportunity to gain the rest they
so greatly needed.
Jack and Harry parked their wagons with the rest of
the train, and wondered what would happen next.
" We 've had a lively time of it. Jack," said Harry ;
" but I 'm not sorry we came."
" Nor I either," was the reply ; " and I 'm in no hurry to
go home. Let 's wait here awhile and see what 's going to
This was agreed to, and they sat down to wait.
THE LOST ARMY. 97
in camp at eolla a private expedition into the
The three-months troops whose terms had expn-ed, or
were about to expire, were sent home, and the post at
Rolla left in charge of the three-years regiments that re-
mained, together witli a portion of the regular forces of
the late army of the southwest. The First Iowa, as al-
ready stated, had been enlisted for three months, and soon
after the arrival at Rolla it returned to its own state and
True to their determination to see more of the war, Jack
and Harry remained at Rolla when the regiment departed.
At the same time they wrote to their parents and sent
messages by their comrades, explaining why they wished
to stay in Missouri, and their reasons for not going home.
" We are not enlisted," Jack wrote to his father, " and so
we don't have to get into danger like the soldiers do.
We 've nothing to do but drive wagons and stay around
the camp, where everything is safe. The boys will tell
you how it is when they get home, and you may be sure
we won't take any risks we can keep out of."
There was a good deal of special pleading in Jack's
letter, as the reader plainly perceives. It was certainly a
greater risk for the youths to remain at a frontier post
than to go home, where they would be out of all danger.
Furthermore, anybody knows that while the position of a
teamster is safer than that of the soldier who goes into
98 THE LOST AliMY.
battle, it is by no means a situation of unalloyed security.
Wagon-trains are liable to attack and capture in the
enemy's country, and one of the favorite enterprises of a
cavalry commander is to strike his enemy's wagon-train
on frequent occasions. If the wagons can be taken away
they become the enemy's property ; if they cannot be
secured they are destroyed, and, in either case, the unfor-
tunate drivers fall into the enemy's hands and become
prisoners of war.
The history of war is full of stories of attacks upon
wagon-trains ; one of the perplexing problems for the
military commander to solve is how to keep open his line
of communications when advancing into the region of war
and protect the trains that bring forward the supplies for
his trooiDS. If an army could be maintained without food
and ammunition, save what it could collect in the enemy's
country, many a leader would be greatly relieved.
Through the recommendation of the oflBcers of the First
Iowa Jack and Harry obtained employment with the post
quartermaster at Rolla, With the approval of the com-
mander of the troops stationed there he issued new cloth-
ing and blankets to the youths, and they felt, to use an
old j)hrase, " as proud as peacocks."
A rumor came that a rebel army was assembling some-
where to the southward for the purpose of attacking Rolla
and securing the valuable property stored thei-e. The
garrison was put at work to throw up defenses, cannon
were sent from St. Louis, the hills around the village were
cleared of brushwood, and everything about the place
assumed the appearance of war.
One day Jack suggested to Harry that they would make
an excursion into the neighboring country, just to see for
themselves and have a little fun.
Harry agreed to the proposal, but said there was a
difficulty in the way on account of their clothing. They
THE LOST ABilY. 99
didn't want to be known as belonging to the garrison of
Rolla, for the double reason that tlie people would not talk
freely with them, and, besides, they might be seized and
carried off as prisoners ; and furthermore, their suits
were new and they didn't want to spoil them as long as
spoiling could be avoided.
Fortune favored them. That very day a scouting party
brought in a wagon-load of clothing which had been
collected in a village a few miles away to be sent to a
company from that village, and then serving under
General Price. From this load of clothing the quarter-
master allowed Jack and Harry to help themselves, and
they managed to pick out two suits which fitted them
about as well as one is ordinarily fitted in a ready-made
Slouch hats added to these butternut garments com-
pleted their costume, and thus accoutered they set out on
a tramp whose duration was an uncertainty. Their plan
was to walk from Rolla to Ironton and back again. The
distance between the two points was about a hundred
miles, and they intended to take a different road on
their return from the one followed on the outward
Ironton was then the terminus of the Iron Mountain
Railway, and was held by a garrison of Union troops.
Colonel Wyman, who commanded the Thirteenth Illinois,
then stationed at Rolla, promised to write to the com-
mander of the post at Ironton and inform him of the pro-
posed journey of the youths, so that their story would not
be discredited on their arrival there. It was thought best
that they should carry no letters or papers of any kind
which might compromise them in case of capture. So
they took nothing except sufficient money to pay their
expenses on the way, and this was supplied by the com-
mander of the post. The paper money of the state of
100 THE LOST ARMY.
Missouri was preferred to anything else by the inhabit-
ants of the region through wliicli they were to pass, and
therefore they carried nothing wliich bore tlie stamp of
tlie United States government, with tlie exception of a few
small pieces of silver coin and some of the local " shin-
plasters " that were then in circulation.
The story that they were' to tell in case they were
questioned was that they had come from the northern
part of Missouri and were on their way to visit friends
near Ironton. They would freely admit that they had come
through Rolla, and Colonel Wyman gave them permis-
sion to tell all they knew about the garrison there, except
to give a guess as to the number of troops at the post.
To all questions as to the number of soldiers at Rolla,
they were to reply that they " did n't know, but thought
there were five or six thousand."
The fact was a reinforcement was expected in a few
days, but this was unknown to the youths, and therefore
the colonel was quite willing the boys should give what-
ever information they could, and in saying that they
did n't know the number of soldiers at the post they would
be strictly within the lines of truth. On their part they
were to learn all they could about what the secessionists
were doing in the region between Holla and Ironton, and
to what extent it was sending recruits to the rebel forces
in the field.
The only baggage either of them carried was an over-
coat, if an overcoat can be called baggage. Jack wanted
to add a tooth-brush and a cake of soap to his outfit, but
the proposal was vetoed by Harry.
" Don't you see," said Harry, " you 'd be giving yourself
away at once ? These fellows here don't use soap, or so
rarely that it is an exception ; and as for tooth-brushes, I
don't believe a quarter of the people have ever heard of
'em. Suppose they search us or see us using soap and
THE LOST ARMY. 101
tooth-brushes ; they 'd know right off that we were not of
" And did n't you hear about how soap-boxes caused a
lot of ainuiunition to be seized?" Harry added.
" No ; what was that ? "
"It was about the time of the Camp Jackson affair,
when tlie state authorities were laying their plans for
taking the state out of the Union and getting ready
to fight. The Union commanders at St. Louis were
trying to stop the shipment of anus and ammunition
to the interior of the state, and all packages of goods
going in that direction were examined. At first only the
outside of the packages was looked at, but one day some-
thing happened to require a more careful inspection.
"The examining officers found some boxes labeled
* soap ' on a steamboat bound for Lexington, on the
Missouri river. Had there been only one or two boxes he
would not have been suspicious, but when he found more
than one hundred boxes he ' smelt a mouse.' He naturally
wondered why the people in that part of Missouri could
want so much soap, and from wondering he ordered some
of the boxes opened.
" Every box was found to contain canisters of gunpowder
instead of soap. The whole lot was seized, and after that
no goods were allowed to go forward without a careful
inspection. If the shipper had labeled the stuff ' whisky '
instead of ' soap,' nobody would have been suspicious, as
whisky is a staple article of commerce and consumption
m that region,"
Jack admitted the force of the ai-gument about soap,
but insisted that a tooth-brush would not be suspicious or
betray their real character.
" Don't be so sure of that," replied Harry. " One of
these Union men from the very region we 're going
through said the other day that he thought the colonel of
102 TTIE LOST ARMY.
the Illinois regiment was a very nice man, until he saw
him come out in front of his tent one morning with a
glass of water in one hand and a little stick with somo
bristles on it in the other.
" ' He came out there,' said the man, ' and stood round
for five or ten minutes pushing that little stick round in
his mouth and hawking and spitting and sloshing that 'er
water among his teeth till it made me feel sick. I don't
think he 's much of a nice man after that.' "
Jack laughed, and agreed that the tooth-brush must be
left behind, as well as the soap, and thus it happened that
they started with neither of those adjuncts of a civilized
They took the road leading in a southeasterly direction
from RoUa, starting one morning before daybreak, so as
to be well on their way before anybody in the village was
stirring. The sergeant of the picket on the road they
were to travel had been notified to let them go on without
question, and he did so on their presentation of a pass
duly signed by the commandant of the post. By sunrise
they were a good three miles out of town, and had met
Tlie first man they met was a Union refugee, who Avas
making his way to the post to escape persecution of his
secession neighbors ; at least that was what the youths
inferred, though he was too cautious to say so until
he had reached the protection of the Stars and Stripes.
He asked if he was on the right road for Rolla, and
on being assured that he was he appeared greatly re-
" I don't know where you-'uns are going," said he, " but
you '11 find lively times if you get down into Arkansas."
" How so ? " one of the boys asked.
" Why," was the reply, " everybody 's going to the
army, and they don't talk about nothing else. They say
THE LOST ARJ\IY. 103
they '11 be up here soon and drive the Yanks out of Rolla
and everywhere else."
" They 're used to driving," said Jack ; " there 's a lot of
'em at Rolla that 's just been driven in from Springfield,
and don't act as though they were going back again in a
" Yes, I 've heard so," replied the stranger ; " p'r'aps
they don't want to go back there yet awhile."
The conversation lasted for ten oi- fifteen minutes, and
was as non-committal as possible on both sides. Neither
party was willing to admit friendliness for the Union
side, as each was fearful of after consequences. The
stranger was the first to move on, as he evidently dis-
trusted the youths and wanted to get away from them.
104 THE LOST ARMY.
HINTS POR CAMPAIGNING IN A KEBEl's HOUSE SNUFF-
After they had walked four or five miles the youths
began to feel hungry, and at Jack's suggestion they
stopped for breakfast at the side of a little brook, which
could supply them with that very important ingredient
of a traveler's meal, water. Xot only did they drink
from the brook while devouring the hard biscuit and
boiled beef they had brought along, but they bathed their
feet in the stream, and carefully dried them before putting
on their shoes and stockings.
Very early in their campaigning they had learned the
lesson of caring for their feet. An old soldier said to
them before they left Booneville :
" Make it a rule to bathe your feet whenever you have
a chance, and always dry them carefully before covering
them again. Of course there will be times when you
must put on wet shoes and stockings and travel in them
for miles and miles, but never do it if you can help it.
Wet feet cause blisters, rheumatism and all sorts of trou-
l)le, and many a man has broken down on a march be-
cause his feet were not properly cared for."
" T should think the officers would look out for their
men's feet," said Jack, when the soldier made the above
" So anybody would think, very naturally," was the
reply ; " but the fact is, a good many of the officers do
THE LOST ARMY. 105
nothing of the kind. They are either above that sort of
thing or else they give general directions to the men, and
then let them take care of themselves. A good infantry
captain will see to it that his men take care of their feet,
jnst as a good cavalry captain looks out for the shoeing
of his horses and tries every way he can to keep them
from getting sore backs.
" xVnd remember another thing," he continued ; " at
night always take off your boots or shoes, and sleep with
your feet bare or only with stockings on. Your rest with
your feet free does twice as much good as the same amount
of rest with them confined in the leather you have worn
all day. This is the rule with all old travelers. Of course
there are times, when you are close to the enemy and a
surprise may be looked for at any moment, when you
must make an exception to the rule ; but don't make the
exception if it can be avoided."
Jack was skeptical on this point, and determined to
try for himself. So he slept one night with his boots
on and the next with them off, and found it just as the
old soldier had told him. He candidly admitted his
mistake, and said that for the future he should n't be
so confident about his own opinions when they did n't
coincide with those of persons older and more experi-
enced than himself.
" One thing more bear in mind," said their informant,
" and that is about sleeping around a campfire."
"What is that? "
" When you sleep near a fire always lie with your feet
to it if you can. If you turn your head toward it you
will quite likely have a headache in the morning, and,
anyway, you won't sleep well. The brain should be kept
cool while we are sleeping, and the feet warm. We cover
our feet at night when we sleep in beds, but leave our
heads exposed. Follow the same plan in camp, and if
106 THE LOST ARMY.
you have warmth anywhere have it at the feet. When
you sleep in a tent have your head where you can get the
greatest amount of pure air to breathe. The Indians un-
derstand tliis, and wlien they sleep in their circular wig-
wams or lodges they have their feet toward the center
and their heads nearest the circumference."
These simple directions were of great use to Jack and
Harry in their subsequent campaigning, and should be
remembered by any of the young readers of this story.
Other hints came to them from time to time, which we
may introduce hereafter.
After breakfast they continued their journey. Half a
mile or so farther on they came to a house, where they
asked the way to the next village, to make sure that they
were on the right road. A woman and two tow-headed
children were the sole possessors of the establishment,
and they eyed the young travelers with an air of suspicion.
After answering the question, the woman asked where
they were from.
" We 've come from the other side of the Missouri,"
answered Jack, " and are going down to see some of our
" I know where you 're going," said the woman. " You
do n't look old enough for soldiers, but you 're going
South. Did you see any Yanks at Rolla ? "
"Yes, lots of 'em," said Harry; " and 't wasn't easy
to get away from there."
" Yes, yes, that 's what they say," responded the woman,
fully convinced by Harry's answer that her suspicions
were correct. And then she added, " Wonder 'f I could
get to Rolla and get some snuflf ? "
The boys were non-committal on this point, but thought
she would have no trouble if she went straight to the
provost-marshal's office when she entered the village, and
told what she wanted.
THE LOST AUMY. 107
« And T want a little tea and coffee, too," she added ;
"and then some salt and other things for the house."
Harry told her she might get a pound or so of each,
but he was sure the officers would n't let anybody come
through the lines with more than that. " That 's what
they told us at Rolla," he added, " and so we did n't try
to bring anything along," — a statement which was liter-
She promised to follow their directions, and then grew
confidential. She told them her husband was down on
the St. Francis river, where General Hardee was getting
up an army to drive the Yanks out of Rolla and all that
part of the state. " He 's in Colonel Jones's regiment,"
said she ; " and if you see him, tell him we 're getting on
all right and hope they '11 be along soon, as we 're getting
mighty short of things to eat."
Jack gravely made a mental note of the name of the
m.in by pronouncing it several times, and promised to
hunt him up as soon as they got where Colonel Jones's
regiment was. The woman then invited the youths to
stay and have something to eat. As they had just break-
fasted they declined the invitation, but accepted the offer
of some milk. One of the children brought it from the
springhouse, and the young adventurers drajik freely and
with a good rehsh. They had a conscientious twinge in
so doing, but swallowed the twinge along with the milk,
and after thanking the kind-hearted woman for her hospi-
tality continued on their way.
" Funny she should want snuff before anything else,"
said Jack, as soon as they were out of earshot of the
» Nothing so very funny about that," replied Harry.
" Don't you know how they use it ?"
" I 've heard something about it, but don't know ex-
108 THE LOST ARMY.
" I picked it up the other clay," Ilairy explained, " and
this is how it is : They call it ' snuff-dipping ' in the
South," he continued, " and it is very much the fashion
among the middle and lower-class whites down in the
cotton states, but not much in Missouri as yet. They
take a little stick and chew the end until it 's soft like a
brush ; then they dip this moist brush in snuff and rub it
on the gums and around the mouth generally, and in this
way they use up a good deal of snuff in the course of a year.
It is said to produce a pleasant sort of mild intoxication,
and after using it a little while a woman gets as much ad-
dicted to snuff-dipping as a man does to chewing tobacco
or smoking. It 's the same sort of vice, and I can't say I
blame the women much, when all the men around them
are chewing or smoking tobacco."
"Do they all use it?" queried Jack; "I mean do
the young women dip siuift' the same as the older
" I did n't tliink to ask that question," Harry responded ;
" but the man who told me said the Avomen who dipped
snuff' mostly did it ' on the sly,' at any rate in the begin-
ning of it. Probably they get bolder about it in time, just
as boys do when they learn to smoke. After a while they
get accustomed to snuff, and don't get the excitement out
of it that they want, and then they take to smoking pipes
just like men,"
Later observation convinced Jack that Harry had been
correctly informed. The further they went in the South
the more they found the use of tobacco prevailing among
the women, and in several instances they found little con-
cealment practiced in the custom of snuff-dipping. At
one house where they called a middle-aged woman held
her snuff-stick in her mouth all the time she was talking
■with them, just as a man might hold a cigar there, and
an older woman sat by the fireplace smoking a corn-cob
THE LOST ARMY. 109
pipe with tlie utmost indifference to the presence of the
They did not stop again until early in the afternoon,
when they called at a house and asked if they could have
dinner. There was a man about the premises, in addition
to the woman and the usual complement of tow-headed
children. He promptly said they hadn't much to offer,
but the boys should be welcome. He had nothing but
hog and hominy, and he reckoned that was all they would
find anywhere on the road.
Jack took the lead as spokesman, and assured him that
hog and hominy was good enough for anybody, and was
all they wanted ; and he further said that cold hog was
just as good for them as hot, and if there was any cold in
the house it would make them a first-rate dinner.
This avowal of democratic principles smoothed the way
at once, and in a little while dinner was ready. Fried
bacon and cornbread constituted the repast, which was
washed down with milk, the boys intimating that they
preferred it to any other beverage, partly for the reason
that it was nutritious and partly because of the general
scarcity of tea and coffee through all the war-stricken
region. The host was not inclined to be talkative on the
topics that were just then the most absorbing, probably
for the reason that he did n't know exactly who and what
his visitors might be, and preferred to remain neutral.
Many men in Missouri tried to adopt this course, but
sooner or later most of tliem were drawn into the war on
one side or the other ; neutrality was next to impossible
where a man was able to bear arms or contribute in any
way to the contest which involved the existence or the
destruction of the nation.
When the meal was over Jack asked how much they
owed for it. The man said he did n't want anything, but
if they had fifty cents to spare for the children it might
no THE LOST ABMT.
come handy. Accordingly Jack gave twenty-five cents
to one of the children, Harry gave the same amount to
another, and everything was satisfactory.
Just as they arose from the table there was the sound
of hoofs outside, which drew everybody to the door. The
hearts of the youths beat a little faster than usual when
they saw eight or ten horsemen riding up to the house
and ranging themselves in front of it.
THE LOST ARMY. m
A STJCCESSFTJL SCOUT — CAPTURE OF A EEBEL CAVALRY
" Are they friends or enemies ? " was the question
which rose simultaneously in the thoughts of the two ad-
venturers. One thing was certain, they were not a cavalry
scouting party from Rolla, as they were not in the army
uniform, but were dressed in the common garb of the
country, the universal " butternut."
Two of the men dismounted and entered the house, or
rather stepped just within the doorway, while the others
remained in their saddles and held the horses of the two
already mentioned. The first question of the one who
appeared to be leader was :
" Any Yanks about to-day ? "
Receiving a negative reply, he asked if they had any-
thing to drink. The host said he had just a drop of
whisky, but he was afraid there was n't enough to go
around. He brought out a bottle, and as it was less than
half-full it was very evident that it would be a small
allowance for the party of horsemen, supposing all of them
The captain, as his comrades called him, proceeded to
fill the bottle with water, thus diluting its contents, and
then remarked that he thought it would go around. After
taking a good-sized drink for himself he went outside and
handed the bottle over to his subordinates, by whom it
was speedily emptied.
112 THE LOST ARM Y.
While they were discussing tlie whisky and remarking
upon its tliinness, the captain questioned tlie two youtlis,
who replied as they had previously arranged to do. They
told the story they had already given several times, and
which they had begun to believe was entirely within the
bounds of truth. The captain seemed somewhat sus-
picious at first, but before they were through talking he
fell into the same error as did the woman at whose house
they stopped in the morning.
" We 're going south, too," said the captain, " soon as
we can raise more men and horses. If you 'd only a couple
of horses we 'd jest take you along. But you don't look
old enough for soldiers. How old are you?"
Jack said they would be sixteen very soon, and he added
that perhaps the war might last long enough for them to
get their full size. He echoed the wish of the captain
that they had horses to travel with, so that they could go
along with his company.
" Well, p'r'aps you '11 find some in a day or two," the
captain answered ; " there 's some of these Union men
round here that 've got horses we ought to have."
Jack took the hint and indicated their willingness to
help themselves to horses whenever they could find any.
This was satisfactory to the captain, and he said that
they might join him as soon as they were mounted, and
it would n't be very hard to find him if they asked in the
Then he gave them several names of men who could be
relied upon, and told where they lived. They covered a
distance of fifteen or twenty miles to the east and south,
so that as soon as the youths had supplied themselves
with horses they could find out the captain's rendezvous.
" But don't trust this man," said the captain, r odding in
the direction of the house in front of which they stood.
" He talks South to our fellows and North to the Yanks
TRIE LOST AEMY. 113
when they come around, and nobody knows where to put
him exactly. He 's trying to carry water on botli shoul-
ders, and '11 be likely to spill it if he don't look out sharp."
Then the captain mounted his horse, after handing the
empty bottle to the farmer, and the troop of Southern
recruits rode off. The farmer was evidently glad to see
them going away, and also not at all sorry when the boys
followed in the same direction. He had heard only a
small part of the conversation between them, but evi-
dently caught enough of it to divine its purport.
" It 's getting rather exciting," said Harry, as soon as
they were alone. " Had n't we better go back to Rolla
and tell what we 've seen and heard, so as to put the col-
onel on the track of the captain who wants us to become
horse-thieves ? "
" I 've been thinking the same thing," said Jack ; " but
how will we work it ? "
"That 's the question," Harry responded. "It won't
do to turn round now, as we should be suspected by
everybody who has seen us, and particularly by the man
where we had dinner. I think he 's a Union man, or
neutral anyhow ; but we '11 take the captain's advice, and
not trust him."
" I have it," said Jack. " We 're tired now, and will
go into the woods and have a sleep. We 're about fifteen
miles from Rolla, and can get back there by morning.
Soon as it 's dark we can start back and go just as fast
as we can, and by breakfast time to-morrow we '11 have
a party of cavalry on the heels of the captain."
This was agreed to, and at once the boys, in the par-
lance of the Southwest, " took to the woods." They slept
soundly till dark, and then took the back track for Rolla.
Fortunately they met nobody save a man in a farm-
wagon, and as they heard the sound of his wheels some
time before he reached them they had abundant oppor-
114 THE LOST AEMY.
tunity to conceal themselves by the roadside till he had
Just at daylight they reached the pickets outside of
Rolla, and were immediately taken before the colonel,
who received them in his tent and heard their story.
Then he sent for a lieutenant of cavalry, who was at once
dispatched with twenty men to hunt for the captain and
his band of horse- thieves. Jack and Harry offered to
accompany them, but the captain declined, partly because
they were in great need of rest, having traveled thirty
miles in about twenty-six hours and been awake all
night, and partly because they would be recognized by
those who had seen them on the road, and by the captain
and his men in case they should be encountered.
" But do us one favor," said .Jack, when he found that
their desire to accompany the party would not be granted.
"Anything in reason," said the lieutenant; "what is
Then he told about the woman who had given them the
milk and asked them to stay to dinner, and he described
the house so that it could not be mistaken.
" Well, what about her ? " asked the lieutenant, as Jack
" Take her this," said Jack, handing out a package co7i-
taining half a pound of tea, which he had obtained from
the colonel's servant while they were waiting the arrival
of the lieutenant, after the boys had told their story.
" Just leave it and say it is from friends ; you need n't
tell her anything more, and it isn't necessary for her to
know. We feel rather guilty at having had her hospi-
tality for nothing, and want to compensate her in some
The lieutenant laughed as he tossed the package to his
sergeant and gave the order to mount. In two minutes
the party was off. It was accompanied by two Union
THE LOST AB3fY. 115
men, natives in that region, who were to act as guides in
designating the roads leading to the probable retreat of
tlie captain witli whom tlie youths had formed so brief an
Tlie lieutenant carried out the request of the boys and
left the woman a good deal puzzled over the affair. He
did not stop five minutes at the house, and briefly told her
that an old friend had sent her something he thought
would be acceptable. As the boys could not in any sense
be considered old friends, she never once thought of
them, and especially as they had gone, as she supposed,
to the South, and turned tlieir backs altogether upon
Rolla and the way the Yankees came from.
Let us follow the scouting party and see how it turned
About fifteen miles out from Rolla, and near the point
where Jack and Ilany turned back, the lieutenant halted
his men and sought a place of concealment in the woods
by the roadside, first putting out a picket to prevent any
one passing in either direction. Then, as the Union
guides were known, he had them change clothing and
horses with two of the men, whom he sent forward to one of
the secessionists whose name had been given by the rebel
captain to the youths. For this work he selected two
young and beardless men, on the chance that the captain
had told the secessionist that the two youths might ask
The lieutenant's calculations were correct. The resi-
dent readily told where the captain was to be found, and
the men returned by a circuitous route to where the sol-
diers were waiting for the desired information. Then
there was a change back again to clothing and horses as
before, and the hunt for the human game was renewed.
So well was the affair managed that the whole band
was captured without the shedding of a drop of blood.
116 THE LOST ABMY.
With the aid of the guides the camp of the rebel recruits
was surrounded and the whole party was taken by sur-
prise. At first they were inclined to fight, but when they
saw their assailants were double their number, and also
were better armed, they considered discretion the better
part of valor and gave up as gracefully as they could.
The lieutenant returned in triumph to Rolla with his
prisoners and their horses. To guard against accidents
the prisoners were not mounted on their own steeds, but
carried in a wagon which formed a part of their camp
equipment. Four soldiers with their carbines ready rode
on eacli side of the wagon, and if any attempt had been
made to escape it would have resulted badly for those
Avho tried it.
The captured horses were turned over to the quarter-
master, with the exception of two, which the colonel gave
to Jack and Harry for their own use. Jack selected the
one which had belonged to the captain, and remarked as
he did so that he had carried out that gentleman's wishes
in helping himself to a horse, though possibly not in the
way the latter intended.
The colonel praised the boys for what they had done,
but advised them to give the region of their late opera-
tions a wide berth in future.
THE LOST AE2IY. 117
THE REBELS OX THE OFFEXSIVE SIEGE OF LEXINGTON.
The morning after their arrival at Rolla, the prisoners
taken through the instrumentality of Jack and Harry
were sent to 8t. Louis, where they were held until an ex-
change was arranged. Colonel Wyman thought the in-
terests of the service would be advanced by keeping the
captured captain and his comrades in ignorance of ho\A
their seizure was accomplished, and in obedience to his
orders the two youths kept out of the way of the pris-
oners, and nothing was said in their presence that could
It was several months before the captain found out how
cleverly he had been taken. At first he was inclined to
be very angry with the boys, and vowed vengeance upon
them if he ever met them again ; but on reflection he re-
marked that all was fair in love and war, and perhaps he
was not quite free from blame in talking so readily with
two entire strangers. " They played the game well," said
lie ; " splendidly, in fact, for a pair of youngsters, and if I
can ever give them a helping hand when they 're in trou-
ble I '11 do it." He was n't at all a bad sort of fellow,
that captain, and you can be sure that after that he
was n't quite so ready to confide in persons whom he had
never seen before.
Not only did the boys have a selection from the cap-
tured horses, but they had a choice of saddles and also of
the pistols which formed the armament of the prisoners.
118 THE LOST ARMY.
All the pistols were old, and some of them were quite as
likely to do damage at the rear as at the business end.
The captain had the best weapon of the lot— a Colt's re-
volver, and there was another just about as good. Jack
and Harry drew lots for the choice. The advantage fell
to Jack, who immediately picked up the captain's revolver
and handed it over to Harry. "I 've got the captain's
horse," said he, " and you ought to have something to
remember him by, so you nmst take this along." Thus
the division was settled, and both were happy.
Thus armed and mounted, the boys were what might
be called " swells " in the garrison of Rolla, and the envy
of many of their associates. There was not a great deal
for them to do for a month or more, as the enemy did not
make the attack upon the post they had been threatening
to make, nor did they even make a feint of one. The boys
went on several scouting expeditions on their own ac-
count, with the approval of the commanding officer of the
post, and though they made some discoveries and ob-
tained information that was of use, they did not succeed
in making captures of prisoners and horses.
Recruiting for the rebel army was in progress in all the
interior counties of Missouri, and often almost under the
eyes of the Union authorities. Now and then an expedi-
tion seized a squad or company of recruits and brought
tliem triumphantly within the lines, but as a general
thing the most of the men who wanted to join the South-
ern armies succeeded in doing so. The fact was, it was
not possible to garrison every town and village through-
out the State, and it was thought best to allow those with
secession proclivities to get away to the field whenever
they wanted to go, rather than remain and be a cause of
General Fremont had been assigned to the command of
the Department of the Missouri shortly before the battle
THE LOST ARMY. 119
of Wilson's Creek, and it was to him that General Lyon
had appealed so earnestly and so vainly for reinforcements
to enable him to hold out against the advancing rebels.
After the retreat of the army to Rolla and the occupation
of Springfield by the rebels, General Fremont set about
organizing a force to take the field early in the autumn,
with the hope of securing possession of the state and fly-
ing the Union flag all over its territory.
After the battle of Wilson's Creek the disagreement
which had existed between the rebel leaders — Price and
McCulloch — increased, and finally threatened to end in
warfare almost equal to that which they were trying to
wage together against the Union. McCulloch refused to
advance further into the state, in spite of the entreaties
of Price. An appeal to the Confederate government did
not result in securing a peremptory order for McCulloch
to advance as Price desired, and the result was a separa-
tion. McCulloch went back to Arkansas, while Price,
whose forces had been strengthened by recruits from vari-
ous parts of the state, marched northward in the direc-
tion of the Missouri river.
Price's openly-declared intentions were to capture
Jefferson City, the capital, and re-establish Governor Jack-
son in authority there. A state convention had met there
in July, and, of course, there was no governor to welcome
it, and no commander-in-chief of the state forces. The
convention declared the oflice of governor vacant, and
chose a new governor. Honorable Hamilton R. Gamble, to
fill Jackson's place. It is needless to say that Governor
Gamble was a Union man, and from that time onward the
power of the state was exerted in favor of the national
government and against the rebellion of the South.
Jackson, the fugitive and rebel governor, never saw the
state capital again after he left on the day of the memo-
rable flight to Booneville. He continued with the rebel
120 THE LOST ARMY.
armies in southwest Missouri and Arkansas and died in
the last-named state long before the end of the war.
General Price survived the war and afterward went to
Mexico, where he was one of the founders of a colony of
Americans who had sworn never to live under the flag of
the United States. He died there in 1867.
With twenty thousand men in his command, and with
his numbers increasing every day of his advance. Price
reached Lexington, on tiie banks of the Missouri, having
two or three encounters with the Union forces on his way,
none of which were of much account. The superiority of
his numbers gave him the advantage, and his opponents
wisely retreated as he moved on. Lexington was gar-
risoned by about two thousand six hundred Union troops,
consisting of volunteer infantry and Home Guards, under
command of Colonel Mulligan, of the Irish Brigade. A
fortification had been thrown up around the college
buildings, which stood in a commanding position between
the new and old towns of Lexington, and about half a
mile from the river. The bank of the river was a hiwh
blult", and with the exception of a small supply from
cisterns and springs, water for the garrison had to be
brought by hand or hauled by teams from below the base
of this bluff.
Colonel Mulligan arrived at Lexington on the first of
September, and the fortification, which he greatly strength-
ened, had been laid out by the commander of the troops
already there. The spot was not wisely selected, as we
shall presently see. As one of the officers said afterwards,
" It was a very good place for a peace fortress, but very
bad for warfare, especially when the warfare has to be
The men worked night and day to comi^lete the intrench-
ments, which were ten feet high, with a ditch eight feet
wide, and capable of inclosing ten thousand men. Rumors
THE LOST ARMY. 121
of the advance of Price were in the air, and it was
definitely known that he was moving toward Lexington.
Appeals for reinforcements were sent to St. Louis, but
they did not succeed in bringing troops to the aid of the
garrison, for the simple reason that none could be spared
from that city.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, the eleventh of Sep-
tember, the Union scouts and pickets were driven in by
the enemy only a few miles out of Lexington. The rebels
followed rapidly and attacked one of the angles of the
fortifications, but not very vigorously. The fighting was
kept up on the twelfth and following days, while the rebel
army was coming up and making its preparations for the
reduction of the fortification and capture of the garrison.
There were nearly three-thousand mules and horses
inside the fortifications, and as the rebel shot and shell
fell amongst them they caused a great deal of trouble.
Numbers of them were killed and their bodies lay rotting
in the sun, the garrison being too much occupied with de-
fending the position to give attention to burying the dead
animals or doing any other work of the camp. Frequently
some of the aft'righted animals broke loose from their
fastenings and ran wildly about the camp, and it was
finally found advisable to allow some of them to run out-
side, as their value was not sufficient compensation for
the trouble and danger of caring for them.
The college building was within the inclosure, and oc-
cupied as the headquarters of Colonel Mulligan. Very
naturally, it formed a fine target for the rebel artillery,
and they fired away at it with good effect. One night
they fired hot shot at it, but did not set it on fire ; had
they succeeded in doing so it would have created consider-
able havoc among the garrison, as the ammunition for the
defense of the place was stored in the cellar, where it was
covered with dirt and sods.
122 THE LOST ARMY.
The rebels went to work leisurely, as before stated.
They planted some of their artillery on the river bank,
where they stopped every steamboat going up or down.
They seized the ferry-boats that connect Lexington with
the opposite bank of the river, and thus prevented the
crossing of reinforcements which were moving from
Kansas to join the threatened garrison. Several steam-
boats were thus taken, and for a while, at least. General
Price was certainly master of the situation.
The country around Lexington grows a large amount
of hemp, and thousands of bales of this article were stored
in the warehouses of the town. The rebels rolled out
this hemp, and with it constructed movable fortifications,
with which they proceeded to reduce the earthworks of
tTie Union army.
And this is the way it was done : The hemp was
thoroughly wetted, so that there would be no danger of
its taking fire, and then the bales were rolled toward the
Union works, one after another, until they formed a
breastwork ; and all the time not a head of a man could
be seen. Then other bales were brought forward and
rolled on the top of the first layer, and in this way the
assailants had a defense that no bullet could penetrate.
Even the four or five pieces of light artillery which Colonel
Mulligan possessed could do but little against such a
bulwark as this.
The first of these hemp breastworks was thrown up to
the west of the fort ; another on the north, where it was
partially sheltered by timber, followed it very quickly.
In the night they were pushed forward, so that they were
within very short range, and from the spaces between
the bales the rebels kept up a fire upon every Union head
that was shown on that side of the earthworks. It was
a repetition of the trick of General Jackson with the
cotton bales of New Orleans in 1815.
THE LOST ABMT. 123
There were several houses within range of the fort, and
these were speedily occupied by the rebels. Then from
every rock, elevation, fence, gully and tree bullets were
steadily whizzing, the great numbers of the rebels enabling
them to keep their lines of attack fully manned at all
Rations were growing short in the fortifications, and
tlie men were worn out with hard work and the necessity
of being almost constantly on duty. The stench from the
dead animals within the lines was fearful, and threatened
to breed an epidemic ; some of the Home Guards were
demoralized and wanted to surrender, but the commander
refused to entertain the idea of givmg up the place.
124 THE LOST AEMY.
SURRENDER OF LEXINGTON — PRICe's RETREAT AND ERE-
To the lack of ammunition and provisions, the stench
of the dead animals, the immense preponderance in
numbers of the enemy, the abundance of hemp with
which the rel)els could construct breastworks, the be-
leaguered garrison had to face an additional horror — that
As before stated, the fortification was at some distance
from the river, and within the limits of the fortification
there were two cisterns, which were soon exhausted, and
just outside the lines were two springs, which afforded a
scanty supply, the rest being taken from the river. As
soon as the besiegers ascertained this state of affairs they
proceeded to cut off the supply of water, which they were
able to do with their greatly superior numbers.
All communication with the river was severed, and
then a force was posted in a position to fire on anybody
who went to get water at the springs. Men can fight
under great privations of food and with short supplies of
ammunition, but they cannot fight against thirst. So de-
termined were the men to hold out, that during a heavy
rain on the second night after the siege began every tent
and wagon cover was spread to catch as much water as
possible ; in this way a great amount was secured, and
more was obtained by spreading blankets, and after-
ward wringing them out.
THE LOST ARMY. 125
Twice a white flag was raised on the ramparts without
the authority of Colonel Mulligan, and immediately hauled
down as soon as he learned of it. A third time it was
raised, also without his authority ; hut when he consid-
ered the sufferings of his men and found there was no
prospect of relief, he consented to surrender, and negotia-
tions were begun immediately. Unconditional surrender
were the terms demanded hy the besiegers, and under
the circumstances the besieged were forced to accept
them. They piled their arms and handed over their col-
ors. Colonel Mulligan wept as he gave up his command,
and many of his men fairly rolled on the ground in their
rage at having been defeated. But it was practically
impossible that they could hold out any longer, and the
surrender was certainly in the interests of humanity.
The losses were less than might have been expected in
a fight that lasted from the eleventh to the twentieth of
September, though it must be remembered that for the
first few days it was not very energetically pushed by
the besiegers. The water supply was cut off on the seven-
teenth and from that time to the twentieth the garrison
had no water beyond what they caught in blankets, tents
and wagon-covers in the rain that has been mentioned.
Less than two hundred were killed and wounded on the
Union side, and about the same number on that of the
rebels. Each side claimed to have inflicted a greater
loss on the enemy than it sustained itself, a circumstance
which has been more or less intimately connected with
warfare since the world began.
Immediately after the surrender the rebels swarmed
around the prisoners, and while some treated them kindly,
others heaped abuse upon them, and if the Unionists had
not already laid down their arms there would have been
a good prospect of a renewal of the fight. The prisoners
were paroled not to take up arms against the Confederacy
126 THE LOST ARMY.
until regularly exchanged, and then they were set across
the IMissouri river and marched to a point near the Han-
nibal and St. Joseph Railway and told to go where they
pleased. During this march they were in charge of
General Rains and his brigade, and most of them testified
to the kindness of the soldiers of Rain's Brigade and of
the people along the road they traveled.
After the surrender Lexington was a lively place. With
nearly thirty thousand victorious rebel soldiery in the
town, and many of these soldiers filled with whisky, in
addition to being flushed with victory, the streets were
anything but quiet and orderly. The officers of the Con-
federates were gentlemanly enough, but as for the soldiers
they were anything but well-behaved. It required all
the authority of the officers to keep the men from break-
ing loose and setting the town on fire or committing some
other folly or barbarity. In some instances it became
necessary to order the men out of town and form camps
three or four miles away, which no one could leave with-
out express permission.
There was the same lack of uniforms that had charac-
terized the troops at Wilson's Creek, only a few hundreds
of all the army under General Price having been able to
obtain the Confederate gray. Some of the generals and
colonels Avere uniformed, but many were not, and wore
their civilian dress, with cloth shoulder-straps to indicate
their rank. Many of the soldiers fought quite independ-
ently of all command, and took their positions wherever
they were best suited.
An eye-witness of the siege said that the mode of
fighting was well illustrated by something that came un-
der his observation. There was an old Texan, dressed in
a l)uckskin suit and armed with a hunting-rifle of the
kind in use on the plains before the war. About seven
o'clock every morning this Texan used to go to the Con-
THE LOST ARMY. 127
federate breastworks, carrying his dinner in a tin pail.
He hunted around for a good position till he found one,
and then he fired away whenever he saw a head until the
sun showed the meridian.
Promptly at noon he knocked off for an hour and ate his
dinner. Then he went to work again and kept at it till
six o'clock, when he went home to supper and to spend
the night in peaceful sleep. Morning saw him at his post
again ; and thus he continued at his daily task till the
surrender took place. There were a good many independ-
ent warriors of this sort, and if they did not kill many of
their adversaries it was because the latter kept their heads
out of range.
As soon as Lexington was surrendered Price turned his
attention to gathering supplies and recruits from the rich
and populous counties along the river. While he was en-
gaged at this business, General Fremont assembled an
army at Jefferson City for the purpose of heading him
off. A portion of Fremont's army marched from Jefferson
City to Tipton and Syracuse, while the balance was sent
forward by railway to the same point. It was intended
to march from these points to Springfield and reoccupy
the place, which Lyon's army had been compelled to give
uj) in August after the reverse at Wilson's Creek.
At the same time the garrison of Rolla was strengthened,
and a column was ordered to move from that point to
join the main force at Springfield. This movement prom-
ised to give occupation to Jack and Harry, who had been
chafing at their inactivity while preparations were in prog-
ress. True, they had scouting expeditions occasionally,
but as they did not succeed in finding any enemy, except
in a very few instances, there was not enough to make the
life of the camp at all exciting.
Movements were delayed by a lack of supplies and
transportation, and it was not till the middle of October
128 THE LOST ARMY.
that the Union forces took the offensive. In the main
column from Tipton and Syracuse, General Sigel's divis-
ion had the advance ; while the other commanders were
waiting for transportation Sigel scoured the country and
picked up everything that could be of use. His wagon-
train when he started was one of the funniest things of
the kind ever known ; there were some army wagons of
the regulation pattern, but there were more emigrant
wagons, such as are used by pioneers seeking new homes
in the far West beyond the lines of railway, and where
steamboats are unknown.
Then he had stage-coaches, family-carriages, drays, hay-
carts, in fact all the kinds of vehicles known to that part
of the country, and whenever a pack-saddle was found it
was taken along. And the motive power was as varied as
the vehicles to be moved ; it comprised mules and horses
as a matter of course, and it also included oxen, and even
cows where the latter were found docile enough to be yoked
or harnessed. There was a rumor that some of Sigel's
men attempted to harness up a drove of pigs ; that they
took the pigs along there can be no reasonable doubt, but
probably for some other purpose than breaking them in
as draft animals. However burdensome to carry a pig
may be, he has never been found a satisfactory beast of
Before Fremont could get his army in motion. Price had
taken the alarm and evacuated Lexington. He was too
wily to wait till his enemy could get in front of him to
cut him off, and the most that Fremont could hope for
was that Price would make a stand in the neighborhood
of Springfield and give chance for a battle.
Fremont did not encounter any enemy on his southward
march until he was in the neighborhood of Springfield.
When within fifty miles of that place he sent forward two
companies of his body-guard, comprising about one hun-
The Fight for \\ atek.
THE LOST ARMY. 129
drecl and fifty men, under the command of Major Zagonyi,
and composed of most excellent materials for a cavalry
squadron. The members of the body-guard were from the
best class of young men of St. Louis and Cincinnati. From
the completeness of the body-guard's outfit and the dashing
appearance it presented, it was derisively known as the
kid-gloved regiment. It consisted of four companies of
cavalry, and the intention was to increase it to a full
regiment of ten companies, an intention never carried out.
After the removal of Fremont the famous organization
was sent to St. Louis and disbanded.
Well, the body-guard got within eight miles of Spring-
field without seeing the enemy, but at that distance from
town it found a brigade of infantry, with some cavalry,
drawn up to receive them, IMajor Zagonyi ordered a
charge, and it was made in gallant style. It was like the
charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava — it was magnif-
icent, but it was not war. The enemy was routed and
the town was occupied only to be abandoned as soon as
night came on, for the very natural fear of a surprise,
which might easily have been disastrous to the seventy
or eighty men that remained of Zagonyi's command, the
rest having been killed, wounded, or scattered in the
fight. Fifteen were killed and twenty-seven wounded,
and fully fifty horses were killed or rendered useless by
reason of wounds and over-riding.
Jack and Harry discussed the affair, when the news
reached them, with the coolness and critical air of major-
" What was the use of such a charge as that?" said
Jack, with his eye fixed on Harry as though he would
" It was a splendid fight," was the reply, " and did
great credit to the men that made it."
" Nobody says it did n't," responded Jack ; " but just
130 THE LOST ARMY.
look at the waste of life, and nothing to show for it. The
rebels were preparing to leave Springfield; in fact, the
two thousand that Zagonyi says he encountered were only
the rear-guard of Price's army, and when our army came
along it could have occupied the town, as it afterwards
did, without any opposition. The lives of those soldiers
were just thrown away, and it is n't the only time men
have laeen sacrificed just to enable somebody to show oft'."
Harry nodded assent, and the conversation shifted to
THE LOST ARMY. 131
OCCUPATIOX OF SPRINGFIELD — ANOTHER BATTLE IMMINENT.
Fremont's army reached Springfield two days after
the charge of the body-guard, the rebels retiring as the
advance of the column approached. There was an amus-
ing incident connected with the charge which may here
A corporal and half a dozen men became separated from
the rest of the body-guard and straggled into Springfield
after the others had left. While the corporal was unde-
cided what to do, a flag of truce came in from the rebels,
asking a suspension of hostilities to permit the burial of
The corporal received the flag of truce at the court-
house, and, on learning the object of the visit, said he
must consult his general, who was lying down in an imier
room of the building. He disappeared for several minutes,
and after a sufficient time had elapsed for a parley with
the imaginary general, he returned with the partial and
conditional approval of the request. He cautioned the
officer bearing the flag of truce not to approach a certain
piece of woods near the scene of the fight until word could
be sent there that a truce had been arranged ; otherwise
there would be danger of a collision between the troops,
as the general's division was too much exasperated to
be under control. He said it would take not less than
three hours to arrange the matter, and meantime the
burying party must remain away. The flag of truce de-
132 THE LOST ARMY.
parted, and the corporal hastily summoned his men and
decamped in the direction which his chief had taken.
A ruse not unlike this was played by the colonel of a
Kansas regiment that was suddenly confronted while on
the march through western Missouri by a force four times
its own strength. The colonel immediately deployed his
entire regiment into a skirmish-line and boldly advanced
to battle. The rebels naturally tliought that when an
entire regiment was deployed as skirmishers there must
be a good sized force behind it. They retired carefully
and in good order, the Kansas colonel pressing them suf-
ficiently close to give the impression that he was anxious
for a fight. By this ruse, which required a good deal of
nerve to undertake, a battle was avoided and the prestige
of victory went to the Unionists.
The day after Fremont's advance reached Springfield
the column from Rolla made its appearance, and went
into camp just outside the town. Jack and Harry were
attached to the wagon-train as before, but with the
advantage in their favor that they were allowed to retain
the horses which had been given to them af tei' the capture
of the rebel captain, and therefore they were able to see
more of the country than under their former circum-
stances. Tliere had been no opposition on the march,
and therefore the trip from Rolla had been devoid of
incidents of importance. The boys went several times
with scouting parties that were sent out to examhie the
country, on both sides of the line of march, but however
much they wanted to get into a brush with the enemy
they could not find an enemy to brush with. All the
men who sympathized with the rebellion seemed to have
gone to the rebel army, with the exception of those who
were too old for service.
But if the men were absent, the women were not; and
what was more, they were not slow, in most cases, to
THE LOST ARMY. 133
make known their feelings. Tliey denounced the " Yan-
kees " and " Dutcli " in the bitterest terms, taunting
them with robbing and killing honest people who were
fighting in defense of their homes ; charging them with
being cowards and hirelings, and sometimes cursing them
roundly in language altogether unfit for ears polite or lips
One day a woman poured upon Jack and Harry a volley
of vituperation tliat was delivered with such rapidity as
to render fully half of it unintelligible. Jack was at first
inclined to anger, and started to " talk back," but Harry
restrained him, and asked the woman if that was all she
had to say.
" All I 've got to say ? " she screamed ; " no, I 've got
more to say ; and that is that you're a pair of brainless
boys that sense is wasted on. 'T ain't no use talking to
such babies without no more beards than the back of my
" Did you ever read Washington's farewell address to
his army, madam ?" said Harry, with the utmost gravity
depicted on his face.
" No ; I don't know nothing about it," she replied.
" Who 's he, I 'd like to know ; one of your Dutch thieves,
I s'pose ? " and her voice came down a note or two from
its very high pitch.
" He was first in war, first in peace, and first in the
hearts of his countrymen," said Harry, with his mock
gravity continued throughout.
" I s'pose he 's one of your Dutch generals or colonels,"
retorted the woman. " He 'd better not come around here,
or I '11 tell him what I think of him and all his other
" He will not come, madam ; I '11 take care that he
does n't. But in his farewell address he remarked that
there was nothing half so sweet in life as two souls with-
134 THE LOST A BMY.
out a single thought, and two hearts that beets and cab-
bages could not turn from their faithful allegiance."
" What 's that got to do with us, I'd like to know," said
she. " He 'd better not come around here alone talking that
way ; but if he fetches along his Dutch thieves, we can't
help ourselves. You-'uns ought to go home if you want
to save yourselves from killing, for the Southern men
won't leave one of ye alive."
" That is what I was saying to my friend here," re-
sponded Harry ; " and now that we 've had our call, we '11
take your advice and go."
Away they I'ode, and had a good laugh as soon as they
were out of sight of the house. Jack admitted that
Harry had shown good sense in making light of the vitu-
peration they received, and said he would follow the
same plan in futui-e.
" It 's no use trying to convert these people to our way
of thinking," said Harry, as they rode along on their way
to rejoin the column. " Argument is wasted on them just
as it would be wasted on us. Nobody could win us over
to believe in secession, and why should we expect these
men and women, born and bred with slaves around them,
to regard slavery and what comes of it as we regard it."
Jack acquiesced in Harry's theory, and he furtlier ad-
mitted that if he had been born in the South and brought
up there, it was fair to suppose that he would have be-
lieved in state-rights and the other principles that the
Southern leaders had advocated since the formation of the
After the arrival of the column at Springfield and its
junction with the forces of General Fremont, there was a
prolonged halt to wait for supplies for the army, prepara-
tory to a further advance into the enemy's country. The
rebels fell back toward the Arkansas line, and it was re-
ported that a force was advancing to join them from
THE LOST AR^fY. 135
Arkansas, when they would be ready to meet us. Scout-
ing parties were sent out, and ascertained that there was
practically no enemy within fifty miles, the rebel army
being" concentrated at Cassville, where they waited the
reinforcements mentioned. The country far beyond
Wilson's Creek was entirely safe, only a stray scouting
party of rebels having been seen for several days.
Jack and Harry obtained permission to visit Wilson's
Creek and the battle-ground from which they had been
driven eleven weeks before. " The thing that impressed
us most," said Jack, in his letter to his father, which he
wrote the evening afterward, " was the absolute stillness
of the place in contrast to the roar of artillery and the
crash of the small arms on the day of the battle. There
was no sound whatever to break it, except the occasional
chirphig of a bird or the rippling of the creek, except our
own voices and the breaking of the twigs under the feet
of our horses. At every step we took we could not help
contrasting the cool autumn morning with that hot day in
August when shot and shell and bullets were flying all
around and the sound of the cannon was like rapid peals
"My horse stumbled over something in the grass, and I
looked down to see what it was. It was a human skull
on which his foot had fallen, and the skull turning had
caused him to stumble as he did. A few feet away lay the
dismembered skeleton to which the skull evidently be-
longed. It was probably the remains of a soldier who
had been wounded and crawled under a tree for shelter
and died there, as the spot was among the trees, and away
from the beaten track. There were bits of cloth scattered
over the ground, and it was evident that birds or wild
animals had been at work there ; and also upon another
skeleton a little further on, which was disturbed and
scattered like the first.
136 THE LOST ARMY.
" On the battle-field there were numerous graves, that
showed how severe had been the carnage ; some were
single graves, while others were sufBciently broad to con-
tain a dozen or more bodies. Fragments of weapons,
pieces of the broken wheel of a gun-carriage, and of the
shell that destroyed it, were lying all around, and the
trees everywhere were seamed and scarred by bullets.
Then there were skeletons of horses lying where the ani-
mals fell, and these had also been the prey of birds or
animals, to judge by the general aspect of dismember-
" We looked for the spot where General Lyon fell, and
found it marked by an inscription carved upon the nearest
tree. A farmer living near the battle-field came out to
show us around, and he told us that the rebel soldiers
cut oti: the glossy mane and tail of CTcneral Lyon's horse
and divided it among them, to wear as badges of honor
or send home to their friends. Then they took away
the teeth and bones as souvenirs of the fight, and Avhen
these were exhausted the teeth and bones of other
horses were secured as relics of the general's favorite
"We rode over and around Bloody Hill and then descend-
ed to the valley of the creek, where the rebels had their
camp on the morning of the battle. Here there were
more traces of the conflict in the shape of the ashes of the
wagons that were set on fire at the time of Sigel's attack,
and the bits of iron which the fire could not consume.
And all the time the stillness impressed us so much that
it was almost painful."
They returned to Springfield by the Fayetteville road,
having gone to the battle-field by the route which was
followed by General Lyon.
The next day there was a rumor that the rebels had
been reinforced and were advancing. A battle could be
THE LOST ARMY. 137
looked for very soon, and the whole camp was m a state
On the morning of the second of November the scouts
brought positive information that the rebels were advanc-
ing, and the next day it was reported that they were
camped on the old battleground at Wilson's Creek and
would fight there. The general officially announced it^
and gave orders for an advance on the following day.
The army was ready to move, pickets were doubled and
grand guards increased, and a battery of four guns was
placed on the Fayetteville road to greet the enemy if he
chose to come on. Jack and Harry slept that night with
their horses saddled ; their sleep was more in theory than
practice, as they were so excited that they hardly closed an
eye durmg the night.
138 THE LOST ARMY.
ARMY SCOUTING REFUGEES AND THEIR SUFFERINGS.
For some time there had been rumors that General
Fremont was about to be removed from the command of
the Western Department. It was said that the authorities
at Washington were greatly dissatisfied with the way he
had managed affairs, and thought he gave more attention to
making a grand display than in pushing operations against
the enemy. Rumors of the impending change grew more
and more numerous, and finally, on the second of Novem-
ber, General Fremont was officially notified of his removal
from command and the appointment of General Hunter
in his place.
Then on the third came the report that the enemy was
in force at Wilson's Creek, and tlie plan of battle was
formed. But the arrival of General Hunter at midnight
caused the order for the troops to march at daybreak to
be countermanded, and so the army did not move out to
fight, greatly to the disappointment of our young friends.
It was fortunate for Fremont's reputation that the army
did not make the proposed mai'ch, as the fact would have
been revealed, which was discovered next day by a recon-
noitering party which General Hunter sent out, that there
was not a rebel camped on the old battleground or any
where near it. A scouting party of about fifty men had
been in the neighborhood, but they did not remain an hour;
they had simply satisfied themselves that the Union army
THE LOST ABMY. 139
was still in Springfield, and then returned to their army
" How could General Fremont have been so deceived ?"
was the very natural inquiry of Jack when it became known
exactly how little foundation there was for the report of
the near presence of the enemy,
" He was deceived by his scouts, I presume," said Harry,
" Suppose we ask one of our friends, who ' 11 know more
So they referred the matter to one of the soldiers
•attached to the commissary department, and the latter
explained as follows :
"You understand," said he, "that a general must
depend a good deal on what his scouts tell him, and to
avoid being deceived by them he is compelled to use a
great deal of judgment. There are three classes of scouts :
those who are really brave, cool and truthful ; those who
intend to be honest, but are timid and credulous, and lastly
those who are born liars and boasters. The first are not
always to be had, and at best are scarce, and so a general's
scouting force is largely made up of the second and third
classes. The second class get their information from the
frightened inhabitants, and the fifty or so that composed
the scouting party of rebels which came as far as Wil-
son's Creek were easily magnified into five or ten thou-
sand; the imagination and fears of the scouts doubled
the numbers given by the inhabitants, and thus the ficti-
tious army was created. As for the liars and boasters, they
are always, if their stories could be believed, doing prodigies
of valor and whipping ten or twenty times their number
of the enemy,
" What they principally do is to scare the people through
whose country they ride, and many of them are not above
plundering after a fasliion no better than downright
robbery. Generally they are in no hurry to meet the
140 THE LOST ARMY.
enemy face to face, but confine their scouting to places
tliat are entirely safe."
The soldier knew what he was talking about. Among
Fremont's followers were several men of this sort with the
rank of captain or lieutenant, and several who were unat-
tached to any command and had an air of mystery about
them. One of them used to ride out of camp about sunset
as though bent on an important mission. He would return
in the morning with a thrilling story of a night's ride, in
which he had several times been fired upon by rebel scout-
ing parties, and had used his revolver with such effect as
to leave five or perhaps ten of his enemies dead upon the
The fact was he went only a mile or two, and there
spent the night at a farmhouse, having previously in-
formed himself as to the entire safety of the place.
Another so-called scout was a forager whose equal is
rarely to be seen. Whenever the army went into camp
he would take half-a-dozen companions and start on a for-
aging expedition, from which he returned with a varied
assortment of things, most of which were utterly unsuited
to the uses of an army in the field and had to be left be-
hind. One day he brought back a wagon drawn by two
oxen and two cows, and with a horse attached behind it.
Inside the wagon he had a ]3air of bull-terrier pups about
three months old, a hoopskirt, and other articles of the
feminine wardrobe, a baby's cradle and also a grain-reap-
ing one, a rocking-chair, some battered railway-spikes,
three door-mats and a side-saddle. Another time he re-
turned with a family carriage drawn by a horse and a
mule, and containing a litter of young kittens without the
mother-cat, a bird-cage with a frightened canary in it, an
empty parrot-cage, several bound volumes of sermons by
celebrated English divines, and a box of garden-seeds.
This same scout got into trouble afterwards in a queer
THE LOST AIi3IY. 141
sort of a way. While on a foraging tour at one time he
secured a lot of ready-made clothing, which he found in
a trunk where some salt belonging to the rebel author-
ities had been stored. The quartermaster refused to re-
ceive the trunk and contents, and so the captain carried
it to St. Louis and took it to the hotel where he temporarily
It so happened that some detectives were hunting for
a suspected thief, who was said to be stopping at the hotel.
They got into the captain's room by mistake and searched
his trunk while he was absent ; they did not find the arti-
cles they sought but they did find thirteen coats of differ-
ent sizes, without any waistcoats or trousers to match.
This was considered such a remarkable wardrobe for a
gentleman to carry, that they did not hesitate to arrest
him on general principles. He was locked up over night
and did not succeed in obtaining his liberty until the quar-
termaster could be found to show that the goods were
not stolen, but were simply the spoils of war.
Immediately after his removal, General Fremont, who
had been in command just one hundred days, returned
with his staff to St. Louis, and the army was ordered back
to the line of the railway. On the ninth of November it
evacuated Springfield, which was soon after occupied by
General Price, and the second campaign of the Southwest
was over. General Hunter remained only fifteen days in
command and was succeeded by General Halleck, who
proceeded to undo jn-etty nearly everything that Fremont
Late in November Jack and Harry foimd themselves
once more in Kolla, where a part of the army of the South-
west went into winter quarters. The rebels were con-
tent to remain in Spring-field, though they sent scouting
and foraging parties at irregular intervals to scour the
country between those two points and gather whatever
142 THE LOST ARMY.
supplies could be obtained. The commander at Kolla also
sent out similar expeditions, which were frequently ac-
companied by our young friends, and thus each army was
fairly well informed as to what the other was doing.
The retirement of the Union forces gave the rebels
great encouragement, and they pushed their recruiting
through the interior country with great activity. They
threatened to capture St. Louis, at least in Avords, and so
loud were their promises that many of their sympathizers
During January, 1862, the camp at Rolla was increased
by the arrival of troops from Illinois, Iowa and Kansas,
and it was evident that the spring was to oi:)en with an-
other campaign. General Samuel R. Curtis arrived and
took command, transportation was cut down as much as
possible, stores were accumulated and sent forward as far
as the Gasconade river, a cavalry division under General
Carr was pushed forward, and by degrees the country was
occupied to within fifty miles of Springfield, where Price's
army was known to be in force. It was ascertained that
McCulloch's army had gone into a winter camp at Cross
Hollows, in Arkansas, and would probably move north in
the spring to join Price, or in case of a Union advance
would wait where it was until Price could fall back to
Among the regiments that came to Rolla was the Ninth
Iowa, which contained several oflScers and many men of
the First Iowa, which had been mustered out of service
after its return from Wilson's Creek, its time having ex-
pired. Its colonel, William Vandever, was assigned to
the command of a brigade, so that the control of the regi-
ment fell to its lieutenant-colonel, F. J. Ilerron, who had
fought at Wilson's Creek as a captain in the First Iowa.
Jack and Harry were overjoyed to see so many of their
old acquaintances, and at the request of Colonel Vandever
THE LOST ARMY. 143
the two youths were turned over to his care. They had
made such a good record in their scouting services during
their stay at Rolla, that Colonel Vandever, whom we will
now call general, as he was shortly afterward promoted
to that rank, decided to make use of them as scouts and
orderlies whenever occasion offered. They were allowed
to retain their horses, of which they had taken excellent
care. The animals showed much attachment to their
young masters, and evidently were quite reconciled to
serving under the Union flag instead of the rebel one,
beneath which they were captured.
Orders to advance were impatiently waited, and at last
they came. Early in February the army of General
Curtis moved out of Rolla with drums beating and
trumpets sounding, and every indication of a determina-
tion to push on to victory. Sixteen thousand men, in the
proper proportions of infantry, artillery and cavalry,
composed the force which was to carry the flag across
the borders of Missouri and into the rebellious state of
But before we follow the army of the Southwest and
make note of its fortunes, let us briefly turn our gaze else-
144 TUE LOST ARMY.
A GENERAL ADVANCE A SCOUTING PARTY AND AVHAT CAME
Careful students of the war did not fail to see that
there Avas a systematic advance along the whole line from
Virginia to Missouri during the early part of February,
186'2. During the winter work on the gun-boat fleet had
been vigorously pushed and many steamboats puchased
or hired as transports. As fast as the ironclads were
ready to move they were sent to Cairo, Illinois where the
transports Avere assembled and vast amounts of stores
had been accumulated. General Grant was in command at
Cairo, and that aqueous town was a vast encampment.
At the same time the army at RoUa had been strengthened,
as we have already seen, and the movement of each force
was practically simultaneous.
Nor was this all. From Washington the army moved
into Virginia, and the checkered campaign of 1862 began.
Tlien a fleet and an army went down the Atlantic coast
and captured New-Berne, North Carolina, and farther
down the coast there was an aggressive move against
Charleston. Then at the mouth of the Mississippi a fleet
of war ships appeared, backed by a fleet of transports
carrying a land force ready to occupy and hold whatever
the fleet' secured. In Kentucky the Army of the Ohio
occupied Bowling Green, and prepared to move upon
The first success along the whole line of attack was
THE LOST AEMY. 145
when on the sixth of February the fleet under Admiral
Foote bombarded Fort Henry and compelled its surrender.
Then followed the attack on Fort Donelson, when General
Grant " moved immediately upon the works " of General
Buckner and took him a prisoner, together with all those
of liis garrison that could not escape. The whole North
was in a blaze of excitement as the news was published
in the papers, which appeared in the form of-" Extras,"
with a great many lines of heading to a very few lines of
news. Such a sensation had not happened since the battle
of Bull Run, in the previous year — and, unlike that of Bull
Run, the story was one of victory and not of disaster.
The effect of the news in a city like St. Louis, whose
population was divided in sentiment, was a curious study
to the outsider. A man's sympathies could be known
half a block away by the expression of his face and the
air with whicli he greeted his friends. If he was for the
Union his head was high in the air and his countenance
showed him to be "smiling all over;" but if he sympa-
thized with the rebellion, his steps were sad and slow and
his head was downcast, as though he had lost a ten cent
piece or a diamond ring, and was on the lookout to find
it. There was no occasion to ask a man how he felt ; the
subject was too momentous to permit him to conceal his
When the newsboys appeared with the extras they
were eagerly patronized by the Union men and as eagerly
repelled by the Secessionists. One boy had the temerity to
enter the store of a noted Secessionist and shout in sten-
torian tones, " 'Ere's yer extra ; all about the capture of
Fort Donelson ! "
That boy soon had reason to believe that his presence
was not desired there and his wares were unwelcome.
He sold no papers in that store, and moreover he was
ejected from it a moment after entering on the toe of a
146 THE LOST ARMY.
number ten boot. His ejectment was no trifling matter
as it carried him quite to tlie edge of the sidewalk. He
got up again, as tliough nothing liad happened, and went
on with his business as usual.
It is sad to record that there was a great deal of drink-
ing in St. Louis over the result of Grant's movement
against Donelson. The Union men drank in joy and con-
gratulation, while the Secessionists did likewise to drown
their sorrow. In Chicago and other Xorthern cities the
drinking was more one-sided than in St. Louis, but the
average to each inhabitant was not greater.
It is said that on some of the dead-walls of Chicago
the day of the fall of Donelson a placard was posted to
the effect that every man found sober at nine o'clock in
the evening would be arrested for disloyalty. History
does not record that there were any arrests in Chicago
that day for disloyalty. Whether there was anybody
around at that hour capable of making arrests is also
Having thus taken a general survey of the field, we
will return to Jack and Harry, whom we left Avitli the
Army of the Southwest.
The army moved, as before stated, and encountered no
opposition as it advanced beyond the Gasconade river
and occupied the town of Lebanon, sixty-five miles from
Rolla. Harry called Jack's attention to the desolation
that seemed to prevail along the route, compared with
what the road was when they first saw it on the retreat
from Wilson's Creek. Many houses had been burned,
and many of those that escaped the torch were without
occupants. In every instance where inquiry was made it
Avas found that the burned or deserted house had been
the property of a Union citizen who had been driven
away by his rebel neighbors or by scouting parties from
THE LOST ARMY. 147
The few people that remained were ahiiost destitute of
food, and it was next to impossible to obtain feed for
horses. The country had suffered terribly from the
ravages of war, and was destined to suffer still further
before the war ended. As long as the war lasted it was
infested by roving- bands of guerrillas, although the regular
armies of the Confederacy had been forced much farther
to the south. At first the Secessionists encouraged the
presence of these guerrillas, but after a time they found
their exactions so great that they would gladly have rid
themselves of their so-called " friends."
The roads were bad and the march was slow, but in
spite of the bad roads and the wintry weather the army
pushed forward resolutely. Jack and Harry found them-
selves covered with mud at the end of every day's march,
and as they were frequently sent with scouting parties
away from the road, their horses as well as themselves
were pretty well used up when night arrived ; but they
came out as lively as ever the next morning, . and the
horses seemed to echo the words of their young masters,
that they were having a good time.
On one'of their scouting expeditions they stopped at a
house wliose owner boasted that he had built it himself
and lived in it for seventeen years, and though it wasn't
equal to some of the fine houses in Springfield or Lebanon,
it was as good as he wanted. It was built of logs, like
the ordinary frontier dwelling, and consisted of a single
room, where the family of six persons lived, ate and slept.
It had a door but no window, and in order to have light
in the daytime it was necessary to keep the door open, no
matter how cold the weather might be. Near the house
was a smaller one of the same sort, and this was occupied
by three negroes, the slaves of the owner of the place.
Harry found on inquii-y that the man had bought these
slaves from the money he had saved by selling the produce
148 THE LOST ARMY.
of his farm, preferring to invest in this kind of property
rather than build a more comfortable house, with glass
windows and other luxuries. One of the slaves was cook
and housemaid, the second was the family nurse, and the
third, a man about fifty years old, attended to the stable
and out-door work in general. The master worked in the
field with his colored property, but he said that when he
had " two more niggers " he would have all his time taken
up looking after them. Naturally he was in sympathy
with the rebellion, and did not believe in the Yankees
and Dutch coming along and setting the slaves free.
The black man watched for a chance to speak to one of
the boys, and after a little maneuvering hemanaged to do
so without being seen by his master.
" Ef you Linkum folks wants to find some rebs," said
the darkey to Harry, with a grin, " I knows whar you '11
" You jest go down dis yere road about a mile and you '11
find some of 'em with a wagon load o' pork dey 's takin'
to Price's army."
" How many rebs are there with the wagon ? "
" Dere 's six on 'em — free is on horses and free in der
wagon. Dey 's been gettin' dat pork round yar, and
hain't been gone more 'n half an hour. I knows dey 's
going ter stop at der creek to fix one of de wheels, and
you '11 find 'em dar. Don't let on wher yer found 'em out."
" Of course ]iot," was the reply. " We '11 keep you all
safe. Now clear out, and don't look at us to see which
way we go."
There were six of them in the scouting party, and they
were entirely able to cope with the escort of the wagon.
Harry slipped to the side of the sergeant in command and
said they 'd better be oft", and he would then tell him
THE LOST AR3fY. 149
The sergeant then said to his men that it was time to
be getting back, and gave the order for mounting. At
the end of the Uttle lane where the house stood they
stopped for consultation, Harry telling what he had learned,
and suggesting, that in order to divert suspicion, they had
best start the other way and then suddenly turn about as
though a new idea had occurred to them.
The sergeant acted under Harry's suggestion. The
party went half-a-dozen rods one way and then turned
about and cantered slowly down the road in the direction
indicated by the negro.
" Steady, now, boys," said the sergeant. " Don't pump
your horses, but keep them fresh for a dash when we
want to make it."
So they went gently along, Harry keeping a little in
advance to watch out for the wagon of which they were
in search. The road rose and fell over the undulations of
the ground, and when they had gone about a mile it was
evident that they were coming to a depression, which was
probably the bed of the creek.
Harry hugged the trees at thq side of the road, so as to
screen himself from sight. His horse pricked his ears
and evidently scented the presence of other animals of
A few more steps in advance and the wagon was in
sight. It was standing close to the creek, and the men
were busy adjusting one of the wheels, the three horse-
men having dismounted and tied their steeds to some
trees a dozen yards away.
The sergeant gave the order to advance at a walk, and
if possible get between the men and their horses before
the presence of an enemy was discovered. As soon as
they were seen they would go in with a dash.
They were not able to carry out the plan completely,
but for all practical purposes it succeeded. When the
150 THE LOST ARMY.
first of the rebel party saw the advancing Federals they
had not time to secure their horses. The sergeant gave
the order for an advance, and in the squad dashed, in tine
The sergeant had told Jack to get hold of the saddle-
horses the first thing, and he did so. The rest of the
party surrounded the wagon. The rebels showed fight,
but, taken at a disadvantage and with the carbines of the
cavalrymen aimed at them, they surrendered before any
blood had been spilt, but not without an exchange of
shots, of which Harry received one through the sleeve of
The prisoners were secured and marched back in the
direction of the road where the army was on its march.
The wheel was speedily adjusted, and then Harry
mounted the box of the wagon and soon made the four
mules that comprised its team understand their duty.
The captured horses were led behind the wagon along
with Harry's horse. Without further adventure the party
reached the camp, and the pork intended for Price's army
found its way down the throats of General Vandever's
TRE LOST ABMY. 151
IN THE CAMP OF THE REBELS CAPTURED LETTERS AND
It was impossible to prevent news of the advance of
tlie Union forces being carried to General Price at Spring-
field. That astute commander knew that he was in no
condition to cope with an army of sixteen thousand men,
and so he wisely withdrew when certain that he would
have to fight if he remained. He left in haste and did not
take time to pack up all his correspondence, of which a
considerable portion fell into the hands of the invaders.
General Curtis had hoped to surround Price in Spring-
field and prevent his retreat; he did surround the town
on two of its four sides, but left the other two wide open,
and consequently Price was able to march serenely and
leisurely down the road in the direction of the Arkansas
General Sigel was sent along a parallel road in the hope
of heading off Price, but the latter got wind of the move-
ment and accelerated his own speed so that heading
oft" was out of the question. Then, too, his rear was
rather closely followed by General Curtis's cavalry, so
that the rear-guard pressed against the column in front
of it and urged the retreat. General Sigel's ofiicers after-
wards complained that they were foiled in their heading-
off attempt by the vigorous pursuit of the cavalry that
led the main column.
Jack and Harry were with a scouting party that visited
152 THE LOST ARMY.
the deserted camp of the rebels close to the town of Spring-
field, and were much interested in studying the buildings
which had been erected for the use of the troops. They
consisted of log and board structures, and were sufficiently
numerous and extensive to accommodate ten thousand
men, in the way troops are lodged in barracks, without
any overcrowding. The log-houses were well chinked
with nmd and clay, and the board ones were well built
and comfortable ; both kinds of buildings had floorings of
boards, and at one end of every house there was a chimney
and a fireplace.
" In some of the camps," said Jack afterwards, in de-
scribing the place to a friend, "the buildings seemed to
have been dropped down hap-hazard, without any effort
at regularity, while in other camps they were laid out
into streets and lanes. Some of the streets had signs at
the corners, and of course the names were sure to be those
of the Confederate generals. The bunks were arranged
in tiers, sometimes four or five in a tier ; some of the
roofs of the buildings were covered with rawhide, and we
saw several chairs and sofas seated with the same material.
" We thought by the looks of the place that they must
have left in a hurry. There was a dead pig lying on the
ground with the knife still sticking in his throat, and
close by was a sheep hanging on a peg in the side of a
house, with its skin about half taken off. Dough was
fresh in the pans, and there were cooking utensils in con-
siderable number, many of them containing food wholly
or partially cooked. They took away their blankets,
hardly one having been left behind. The sick men who
remained in camp said that there was a very short supply
of blankets, and they were sure the army would suffer
greatly for want of proper clothing and covering.
" I 'm certain they left in a great hurry," continued Jack,
" or I would n't have this."
THE LOST ARMY. 153
As he spoke he drew from his pocket a gold watch,
which he had found in a bunk in one of the houses,
evidently a house where the officers of a regiment were
lodged. It was a pleasing souvenir of the visit to the
camp, and Jack said he hoped to carry it home to show
to his friends in Iowa.
"And what did you find, Harry?" said one of the
listeners, turning to the other of our young friends.
" There were no gold watches, or even a silver one, in
any bunk that I examined ; but I found this, which was
quite likely a treasured possession of its former owner as
much as was the watch to the man who left it behind for
Jack to pick up. But it would n't sell for as much ; in
fact, I don't think it would bring any price at all in the
market, as it 's only a bundle of love-letters."
Then he read some of the letters aloud, to the great
amusement of the entire party. It is a fact worthy of
record that anybody's love-letters are amusing, and gener-
ally silly, to all except the one person for whom they are
intended and the other person who writes them.
The love element was not stronger than the devotion of
the fair writers to the cause of the South. One of them
urged her lover to stay with the army and fight till the
last slave-stealing Yankee was put out of existence and the
triumph of the Confederacy was assured, "And you
won't have long to stay," she added, "as we hear the
northern people are starving, and all of them are fast get-
ting sick of the war. They won't be able to hire any more
Dutchmen to fight for them, and when they can't hire
Dutchmen the war will stop and the South will be inde-
" I know I can trust you when you get among the
northern women," she says in conclusion ; " and am sure
you won't forget me and fall in love with one of those ill-
looking, wheezing, whining, ignorant creatures. That 's
154 THE LOST ARMY.
what Johnny Scott says all the Yankee women are like,
and he 's been North three or four times, you know."
"Poor, dear, confiding girl," said Harry. "I 'm afraid
Johnny Scott wanted to make her mind easy about her
far-off sweetheart, and so invented this charming fiction
about the northern lasses. How her eyes would be opened
if she could take a run through the cities and country
towns all the way from the state of Maine to the Missouri
river and see the thousands and thousands of pretty faces
that could be seen there."
To judge by the passages of the letters giving the news
and rumors concerning the progress of the war, it was
evident that the most astounding stories of the prowess
of the southern soldiers and the cowardice of the northern
ones were in active circulation. The latter had been de-
feated over and over again, and generally ran at the first
fire ; sometimes they even ran before a shot was fired, and
gave the enemy the victoi-y without spilling a drop of
There was an amusing juxtaposition of paragraphs, one
of which said the Yankees were being driven back every-
where as fast as they could be met, and the other saying
they were pushing down into the South all the time
" further and further." Evidently the writer of the letter
was puzzled at this, for she says :
" I asked Colonel Jones that if we were whipping the
Yanks all the time, how it was they kept coming further
down South as fast as we whipped them. He said a
woman could n't understand war ; he could excuse my ask-
ing such a question, but if it had been a man that asked
it he would have arrested him for a Yankee spy. Of
course I am aware, Charles, that I don't know anything
about war, and I wish you 'd write me something, so that
I can talk understandingly. I think I can guess it ; the
southern generals want to entice the Yanks down into
THE LOST ARMY. 155
the South, and when they get ready to kill the whole lot,
none of them can get away."
This was the explanation given on several occasions by
the rebel leaders in reply to inquiries as to the reasons
for certain retirements of the rebel troops. A letter from
Colonel Thomas IT. Price, of General Price's staff, was
among the correspondence captured at Springfield. It
had been left behind by the general in his hasty departure.
This letter was dated at Memphis, January sixth, and con-
tained, among other information, the following :
* * * I shall start in the morning for Richmond. I have not the
leastwish or curiosity to go, but Major Anderson and Colonel Hunt,
of the Quartermaster and Ordnance Departments, advise to go
immediately there. I tell everybody who mentions your retreat
that you only moved your camp to be more convenient to forage,
There were many other letters which the rebel general
left behind in his flight that were of special interest to the
union commanders, as they revealed the methods of re-
cruiting and gathering provisions in the Confederate
states. There was a complaint that the governor of Ar-
kansas had placed an embargo on the shipment of pork,
corn and other produce to New Orleans, on the ground
that it would all be needed for feeding the Arkansas troops
in the field. One man said he had bought twelve thousand
pounds of pork to ship to New Orleans, and on which he
expected a handsome profit, but owing to the action of the
governor he was unable to sell a pound of it.
This was agreeable news to the union commanders, as
it went far to insure a good supply of provisions in any
movements the Army of the Southwest might make in
Arkansas. Various letters gave the strength of the rebel
forces at difterent points, and altogether a good deal of
information was obtained from the captured correspond-
156 THE LOST ARMY.
The rebels had established a foundry and armory at
Springfield. In the former they were casting shot and
shell for the use of the artillerymen, and far the latter
small arms were being repaired and cartridges made for
the infantry, while swords were fashioned and put in
serviceable condition for the cavalry.
Several buildings were filled with provisions, one large
one being quite untouched. The reason why the torch
was not applied to these storehouses and their contents
will be seen later on.
THE LOST ARMY. 157
A RAPID PURSUIT "THE ARKANSAS TRAVELER" GAME
CHICKENS AND COCKING MAINS.
The union army followed closely after the rebel one,
and for more than a hundred miles the chase was con-
tinued. Sometimes the advance of the pursuers was not
more than a mile or two from the rear of the pursued. A
retreating army always has the advantage, as it has a
clear road, while the advancing one must carefully recon-
noiter the ground to prevent falling into ambuscades.
Then, too, the retreating force can forage upon the
country, where there is anything to be obtained in it, and
by clearing it of provisions and supplies of every kind
make it a difficult matter for the pursuers to feed them-
selves, unless by waiting for the wagon-trains, which are
always an encumbrance and hinder rapid movements.
General Price did not stop to form ambuscades or other-
wise engage the advance of General Curtis, but kept
straight on toward the southwest till he formed a junction
with McCuUoch at Cross Hollows in northern Arkansas.
Cross Hollows is a curious sort of a place, and is Avell
described by its name. The rolling and hilly country is
suddenly broken by a series of ravines that spread out
from a common center like the rays of a star. Ravines
in this part of the country are generally known by the
more prosaic name of " Hollows," and the crossing of the
hollows gives the name to the locality.
The main road from Sprhigfield to Fayetteville and the
158 THE LOST ABMY.
southwest traverses the center of the hollows. A short
distance before reaching the hollows it crosses a fine
stream of water, wliich bears the name of Sugar Creek.
The water of Sugar Creek is pure, like that of a mountain
brook. In its shallow parts it is without color, but wher-
ever it attains a depth of thirty inches or more it is deeply
tinged with blue. This is the character of the streams
generally through that section of country, and when one
looks down from a height upon the valley of one of these
streams the effect of the pools of blue alternating with
the white water of the shallow portions and the green
of the enclosing banks forms a very pretty picture.
Down to that time none of the union forces in south-
west Missouri had ever crossed the line into Arlcansas.
General Vandever's brigade was leading the advance of
the infantry column, a half mile or so behind the cavalry,
and Jack and Harry were as far in front as they were
permitted to go. When the head of the column reached
the line a halt was ordered, the regiments were closed up,
and preparations were made for commemorating the inva-
sion of the seceded state- in an imposing manner.
For some days the bands had been practicing the music
of " The Arkansas Traveler," one of the far-seeing officers
of the staff having supplied the leaders with the score.
After the column had been halted two of the bands were
brought forward and stationed on each side of the road,
where a post marked the boundary between Missouri and
Arkansas. When all was ready the bands started up
" The Arkansas Traveler," and with their rifles at right-
shoulder shift, and in column of fours the infantry filed
past. As each company crossed the frontier a loud cheer
was given, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. To add
to the good spirits of the men the news of the fall of Fort
Donelson reached them and spread like wildfire on their
first night in camp on the soil of Arkansas.
THE LOST ARMY. 159
Price and McCullocli united their forces at Cross Hol-
lows and made a stand against tlie union advance, though
evidently not a serious one, as there was only a slight
skirmish, after which the rebels retired in the direction of
Fayetteville twenty-two miles further on. The cavalry
division pursued them to that point, but the infantry
halted at Cross Hollows. Even at Fayetteville the rebels
did not feel strong enough to make a fight, but continued
their retreat after a short resistance over the Boston
Mountains in the direction of Fort Smith, where for a
long time the United States government had formerly
maintained a military post.
The rebels had accumulated at Fayetteville a consider-
able supply of bacon, corn and other materials for feeding
their army, and when our troops arrived most of the store-
houses containing these supplies were on fire. It was
afterward ascertained that the burning of these store-
houses had been the cause of a serious dispute between
Price and McCulloch — a renewal of their quarrel at the
time of the Wilson's Creek campaign.
Price wanted to leave these supplies for the use of the
union army, and he argued as follows : We 've got to
retrea.t, and the union army is going to stay here till we
drive them out. They are in our country, and more than
two hundred miles from their base. They will forage on
the country for a large part of their supplies, and if we
leave this bacon and corn they will have just so much less
to take from the people, who are our people, and not
theirs. Arkansas is a seceded state, and the Yankees
and Dutch won't have any compunctions about living on
the state that they might have in Missouri, which they
claim to be still in the union, and are trying to keep there.
The easier it is for them to find their living the easier it
will be for Arkansas.
On this line of argument Price opposed the destruction
160 THE LOST ARMY.
of the supplies. McCullocli opposed his view of the
matter, and said it was no part of their business to help
feed the Yankee army, and what happened to the people
was simply the fortune of war. The quarrel reached its
height and came near a fighting point when McCulloch
accused Price of disloyalty to the South and a willingness
to see Arkansas subjugated by the Northern troops.
Price was overruled and the stores were set on fire.
His prediction was verified, as the union forces foraged
right and left among the people, and certainly caused them
much more hardship than would have been the case had
tlie supplies fallen into our hands. Which of them was
right in the argument the reader may decide for himself.
Certainly the question, like most matters on which men
differ, had two well-defined sides.
McCulloch's army had spent the winter at Cross Hol-
lows, where it erected buildings capable of lodging eight
or ten thousand men. When the rebels retired from
Cross Hollows these buildings were set on fire, and by the
time our troops arrived all but half a dozen of them had
been consumed. The ashes remained to mark the spot,
and the positions of the smoking ash-heaps showed that
the cantonment was laid out with the regularity of a care-
The Third Blinois Cavalry, which was attached to
General Vandever's brigade, followed closely upon the
heels of the enemy after the skirmish at Sugar Creek, and
pushed on in the direction of Fayetteville. A single com-
pany was retained by the general for scouting purposes,
and to this company Jack and Harry were temporarily
attached. The youths were among the first to enter the
rebel cantonment and try to save what they could from
Harry's sharp eyes fell upon some chickens, of which a
hundred or more were running wildly about the place.
Death of General Lyon.
THE LOST ARMT. 161
The slaughter of the innocents began at once ; chickens
were not abundant in that part of the country, and. Harry
thought a fine fowl would be very welcome at the general's
mess-table that evening, and he was also of the opinion
that a similar bird would taste well for himself and
He secured two, and remarked to Jack that they were
the thinnest birds of the kind he had yet come across,
" But they 're chickens, anyhow," said he, " and if they 're
too tough for broiling they will do well in a stew,"
Jack w^as equally fortunate in his chicken hunt, but his
second bird was a surprise that caused his eyes to open
" Just look at this," said he to Harry, as he pointed to
the legs of the fowl ; " wonder what this means ? "
The objects that arrested his attention were a pair of
steel " gaffs " as sharp as needles, and attached by straps
and cords to the legs of the chicken ; they were hollow at
the base, so that they passed over the natural spurs of the
" I never saw anything like this," said Jack, " and don't
believe it grows there."
" Nor I either," replied Harry. " Here comes the
general ; let 's show it to him and find out what it 's all
Jack ran to General Vandever and exhibited his dis-
covery. The latter immediately ordered the slaughter of
the chickens to cease, and it was stopped at once, but not
till two-thirds of the number about the camp had
" These are game cocks," said the general, " and they 're
kept for fighting purposes. I heard that the Third
Louisiana had a lot of game cocks, and were keeping
them here for amusing themselves. They come from a
chicken-fighting region, and this is one of their favorite
162 THE LOST ARMY.
sports. They get up matches, on which they bet heavily,
and then the fighting-cocks are equipped with these spurs
or gaffs, and put in the ring against eacli other. Tlie bird
that can first pierce the otlier witli tliese gaffs generally
wins the fight, as a well-directed blow with them is
" Probably we interrupted a fight," the general con-
tinued. " This bird was certainly all ready for the ring,
and if you look around you '11 find another similarly
equipped and about to proceed to business."
Sure enough, the antagonist of the bird was found in
the hands of a soldier ; at any rate, there was another
chicken with the gaffs on that had been killed before his
character was known. Game chickens are not considered
edible except in case of emergency. Those that had been
killed were, however, duly served up, as it was thought
extravagant to waste anything in the chicken line at that
particular time. It was as Harry had predicted, the
chickens were not good for broiling, but they did fairly
well when stewed, especially when the stewing continued
The birds that were saved from slaughter were the
source of much amusement to the officers while the army
remained in camp at Cross Hollows. Almost every day
there was a cock-fight in front of one of the tents, but it
was generally bloodless, as nobody knew anything about
handling the birds, and the steel gaffs were never used.
The names of the rebel leaders were given to the fighters,
and it was a common occurrence to have Beauregard
pitted against Jeff Davis, Price against McCulloch, or Lee
against Johnston. General Vandever turned two of the
birds over to the care of Jack and Harry. Harry's pet
was called Magruder, and Jack's received the fighting name
In the first encounter Breckinridge tore three feathers
THE LOST AEMT. 163
out of Magriider's neck and otherwise disabled him, so
that Harry lost his wager. But as betting in money was
not in order, and the stakes consisted only of army crackers,
the youths' losses were not heavy.
One after another the fighting-chickens went to the
cooking-pots, as they were not securely guarded and
several of the ofiicers had negro servants. There is a
traditional affinity between the negro and the chicken, an
afiinity which results in the absorbing of the latter by the
former. Some of the negro servants were good foragers,
and ran considerable risk iu their search for supplies, as
we shall see later on.
164 THE LOST ARMY.
A IIAI'ID RETREAT AN EXPEDITION AND A FORCED
For two weeks after the army reached Cross Hollows it
remained apparently inactive, though really far from idle.
Foraging expeditions were constantly in motion, scouting
parties were sent out in every direction, and small forces
of infantry and cavalry went to visit the various villages
and towns within a radius of fifty miles to the east
and west. Several times detachments of cavalry visited
Fayetteville, and made sure that the rebels had not re-
occupied the place.
As already intimated the negro servants of the officers
were active in search of chickens and other articles of
food. General Vandever and Colonel Herron had as man-
ager of their mess a negro named William, generally ab-
breviated to Bill, who could scent a chicken at least a
mile away, and a concealed ham even though a load of hay
had been piled on top of it. In the same brigade was the
Twenty-fifth Missouri, commanded by Colonel John S.
Phelps. The latter officer rejoiced in a negro named Jake,
and he and Bill went together almost daily in a hunt for
provisions. Not infrequently they ventured beyond
the lines, and on two or three occasions had narrow
escapes from capture.
One evening Bill gave the following account of the day's
" Me and Jake went out for to find suthin', and I says
THE LOST ABMT. 165
to Jake that chickens was gettin' mighty sca'ce round
yere. We went out on a side road off from de Fayette-
ville road, and while we was at a house dere and trying
to find out if dere was any chickens in de cliicken-house,
and if de man wliat owned de place was to home or not,
we heern a noise.
" I looks out o' de chicken-house, and down de road
I sees some dust, and in dat dust I sees two or free dozen
rebs. I jest says ' Rebs ' to Jake, and him and me lit out
o' dat dere chicken-house and over behind der barn and
den we got out inter de road.
" De rebs dey comes up and stops at der house, and den
me and Jake lit out for camp. And yer jest ort to a-seen
Jake run ; dere nebber was a nigger run like Jake
did ; he jest streaked it along ez if a tiger was arter
him, and mighty near cotchin' him, too."
Here Bill doubled himself up with laughing at the pict-
ure presented by the swift-footed Jake. After laughing
awhile he paused, and repeated his belief that Jake was,
" de runnin'est nigger dat eber was know'd."
" Well, what did you do. Bill ? " said the general, when
the negro stopped laughing long enough to permit the
question to be edged in.
» Wot did I do ? Wot do yer s'pose I did, Gineral ? I
jest retreated, fell back, alongside o' Jake, and got inter
camp 'bout five minutes ahead of him."
" And that 's the way of Avar," the general remarked to
the rest of the party. "We retreat or fall back, but
Jack and Harry had a retreat of this sort one day when
out in search of a quantity of bacon that was said to be
concealed in a barn several miles away. They did n't get
the bacon, but they did get a brush with a sindlar but
larger party of the enemy, probably on the same
baconian intent. Being in the minority, the union squad-
166 THE LOST ARMY.
ron retired in good though somewhat rapid order, which
was doubtless described afterward by tlie rebels who wit-
nessed it as a dead run. Harry admitted as much to a
friend, but insisted that it was a retreat, and not a run
Rumors reached the ai'my that the rebels had formed a
camp about twenty-five miles south of Fayetteville, and
were receiving reinforcements. The position at Cross
Hollows Avas a strong one, and in view of the reports from
the front General Curtis did not care to advance, and thus
abandon his very desirable camp. With an abundant
supply of water, and with the natural advantages of the
ridges that bounded the hollows, and on which his artil-
lery was planted, he thought it best to wait there for the
advance of the enemy rather than advance to Fayetteville.
The front of the army was extended so that it covered
a distance of about five miles, the camps being pushed out
to the south of Cross Hollows and the wings extended
both ways from the line of the main road. General
Sigel's division was moved to Bentonville, several miles
to the west of Cross Hollows, in order to increase the
opportunities of foraging for supplies and also to guard
the roads in that direction. It was supposed that the
advance of the main body of the enemy would be along
the main road, and only a small force would be sufficient
to hold the roads on the flanks. The rear of the union
army was at Sugar Creek, and the quartermaster's train,
heavily laden with supplies, was along this creek and at
Elkhorn Tavern, a country hotel, which derived its name
from a pair of antlers or elkhorns over the front
On the second and third of March several expeditions
were sent out for the purpose of collecting supplies and
also of breaking up small camps where the rebels were
said to be recruiting. One of these expeditions went in
THE LOST AB3IY. 167
the direction of Pineville, Missouri, and arrived within
half a mile of the object of its search, when it received
orders to return. It got hack to camp without meeting
the enemy, but it was afterward ascertained that it crossed
the intersection of two roads only half an hour before
a rebel division reached that spot in sufficient force to
have completely overwhelmed the little detachment.
Another detachment which went to Maysville, near the
western boundary of Arkansas, was completely cut off
and compelled to march northward to avoid capture, A
third expedition went to Huntsville, in Madison county,
to break up a rebel camp ; but it failed of its mission, as
the rebels had left two days before it arrived there.
Harry and Jack accompanied this expedition, and there-
fore we have a special interest in knowing how it turned
out. We will let Harry tell the story of their adventures.
" We were not a large party," wrote Harry afterward ;
"only a thousand men in all. There was a part of the
Ninth Iowa and the Twenty-fifth Hilissouri, two companies
of cavalry and two pieces of light artillery from the Du-
buque battery. General Yandever commanded the ex-
pedition, and we expected to be away four or five days.
" We were two days getting to Huntsville, where we
found the rebels that we were after had gone. Huntsville
is an Arkansas county-seat of two or three hundred in-
habitants, and hardly an able-bodied man could be found
in the whole place ; all were away fighting in the rebel
ranks. The principal store in the place was a whisky-
shop, and the proprietor claimed to be a union man. One
of the officers, a captain, bought a canteen of whisky of
him, and offered a United States treasury note in pay-
" The man took the note and looked at it carefully.
Then he returned it, saying he must have either gold or
Confederate paper money.
168 THE LOST ARMY.
" ' Isn't this good enough ? ' the captain asked.
" ' Good enough as long as you-'uns are here,' said the
man ; ' but wlien you turn your backs the otlier fellows
would hang me if I had that kind of money.'
" Nobody had any Confederate paper, and the captain
didn't know what to do. He wanted the man's whisky,
as the weather was cold, but he knew the fellow was right
about getting into trouble for having our money.
" Another of the officers had been in the first expedition
to Fayetteville, and happened to have in his pocket a
whole sheet of private ' shinplasters,' or promises to pay,
that he picked up in a printing-office in that town. He
took the sheet from his pocket and asked if that was the
kind of money the man wanted.
" ' Just the thing,' said the whisky-dealer. ' Give me
one of them slips and you can have a canteen of whisky
" The slip was cut from the sheet and handed over.
The man's attention ^vas called to the fact that it had not
been signed, but he declared it was just as good, and no-
body would know the difference.
" Another and another and another were cut off, and
finally the whole sheet had been disposed of for canteens
of bad whisky. Then somebody fished out another sheet
of the same sort of stuft", and the whisky-dealer did a
lively stroke of business as long as the paper lasted. Prob-
ably he worked it off on his neighbors and suffered no
loss owing to the notes having been without signa-
" Well, we did n't make many prisoners at Huntsville,
but the few we did make set us thinking pretty lively.
" We picked up four or five men of no particular con-
sequence, and they were examined apart from each other
to make sure that they had not patched up lies to tell us.
Next we picked up two men who had left the rebel army
THE LOST ARMY. 169
only twenty-four hours before, for the reason that they
had no weapons and were simply useless mouths to feed.
"They gave us the startlmg intelligence that the rebels
were already advancing to attack our army. They had
left the camp about twenty-five miles south of Fayette-
ville, but not until they actually saw the troops marching
out on the road to the north. They said there were
thirty thousand of the rebels, and they were commanded
by General Van Dorn.
" General Vandever immediately sent off a courier with
this information to General Curtis, and very soon after-
ward he gave the order to return to camp. We went
about six miles and then camped, but before we had been
in camp an hour we had a courier from General Curtis
with the same information and ordering our immediate
"General Vandever," continued Harry, "gave orders
for us to start out of camp at two o'clock and make a
forced march to rejoin the main column. Do you know
what a forced march is ?
" Well, it 's something pretty tough when you have to
make it, as it means a march without any rest until it is
ended. We had forty-one miles to go that day, and it
took us from two in the morning until ten at night, but
we did it. It was n't so bad for the cavalry and artillery,
as they had their horses, but it was terrible for the in-
fantry. The word passed along the lines that the enemy
was on the road to attack us. General Vandever had
great fears that the rebels knew of our expedition and
would try to cut us off at the crosshig of the White river,
and so he hurried on till he got the stream behind us.
There was about three feet of water at the ford, and to
save the infantrymen from getting their feet wet, and
consequently sore, he crossed tliem over with the cavalry.
An infantry soldier jumped up behind a cavalryman and
170 THE LOST ARMY.
was soon on the other side. Others climbea on the
caissons of the artillery, and so by two trips of thecavahy
tlie whole force was crossed over with dry feet.
" We only halted for about fifteen minutes at a time,
and three times in all during that long day's march.
The infantrymen were completely tired out when they
got into camp, but they were ready for the battle the
next day, and they did good work, too, you may be sure.
" While we were on the march we met couriers that
had been sent out hy General Curtis to tell us that fight-
ing had already begun away on the right of our line where
General Sigel was. They also told us that we should find
the center or main position at Sugar Creek, where the
shape of the ground was such as to give us a better de-
fensive position than the one at Cross Hollows. General
Curtis had decided to concentrate his forces there as soon
as he heard of the rebel advance, and the movements of
the various parts of the army had such a concentration in
Not the least weary of these who took part in General
Vandever 's expedition on its return to camp Avere Harry
and Jack. The noble-hearted youths had done all they
could to help along their comrades, and for nearly hiilf
the way they had loaned their horses to footsore infan-
trymen who were unable to keep up with the column.
Harry declared that a little exercise would do him good.
Jack shared his kindly feeling, and walked briskly along
as though it was the greatest fun in the world. General
Vandever said they were a pair of Mark Tapleys, who
could be jolly under the most adverse circumstances.
When they were yet four or five miles from camp the
general sent Harry to give notice of the coming of the
expedition and order a supper prepared for the weary
men. Harry took his horse from tlie man who had been
riding it, and darted away as fast as he could go. The
THE LOST AEMY. 171
men in camp set to work with a will, and when the ex-
pedition arrived a supper as good as the army rations
could supply was ready and waiting. Harry satisfied
his own hunger and secured a good meal for Jack, who
was not long in swallowing it ; the horses were fed and
watered, and then the pair of young veterans stretched
themselves on the ground to get what sleep they could
before the breaking of day should be the signal for battle.
^yhile they are sleeping we will look at the organization
of the two armies, and the plans on which the battle of
Pea Ridge was fought.
As before stated, the army of General Curtis was about
sixteen thousand strong when it started from Rolla, but
the number had been reduced by leaving a garrison at
Springfield and by the other causes that always reduce
the strength of an army in the field, so that the aggregate
of effective men ready for battle was little if any above
ten thousand. It was in four divisions— the first being
commanded by General Osterhaus, the second by General
Asboth, the third by General Jeff C. Davis, and the
fourth by General Carr, Some of these oflacers had not
then received their commissions as generals and were
still known as colonels ; but as they all rose to the rank
shortly afterward, it will be convenient and not unjust for
us to designate them by the higher titles, whose duties
they were performing.
Each division consisted of two brigades, but some of
the brigades were very small, and did not contain enough
men for a full regiment. General Sigel was in command
of the first and second divisions, and thus held the position
of a field marshal, under the superior command of General
Curtis, the commander-in-chief. The infantry regiments
that were in the battle of Pea PJdge on the union side were
the Twenty-fif th,Thirty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, Thirty-seventh
and Forty-fourth Illmois, the Eighth, Eighteenth, and
172 THE LOST ARMY.
Twenty-second Indiana,tbe Fourth and Ninth Iowa,andthe
Second, Ninth, Fifteenth, Twelfth, Seventeenth, Twenty-
fifth and a part of the Tliird Missouri ; of cavalry regiments
there were the Third Iowa, the Third and Thirty-ninth
Illinois, and the First, Fourth and Sixth Missouri together
with two battalions of Benton hussars, and jMajor Brown's
battalion of cavalry, which served as a body-guard to the
general-in-chief. The artillery comprised about fifty
field-guns of various sizes, in four and six-gun batteries,
from the same states as were represented by the infantry.
The rebel army was commanded by General Earl Van
Dorn, and its aggregate was said to be not far from thirty
thousand men. Van Dorn's army was composed as fol-
lows : Missouri troops, under Major-General Sterling
Price, about nine thousand ; Arkansas, Louisiana and
Texas troops, under Brigadier-General Ben McCulloch,
about thirteen thousand ; Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw
and other Indian troops, with two white regiments, under
Brigadier-General Albert Pike, about seven thousand.
No exact statement of the number of rebel troops in the
battle has ever been published, but the above-named
figures are not far from the correct ones. An officer of
Price's army wrote an account of the battle, Avhich was
published in the Richmond Whig. In this account he
said the rebels estimated their strength at thirty-five
thousand, and making all deductions for stragglers and
the usual falling off on the line of march, they had from
twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand men to go into
THE LOST ABMY. 173
VAN DORn's advance SIGEL's MASTERLY RETREAT THE
Van Dorn had learned through his spies and the coun-
try people about the strong front presented by General
Curtis on the northern bank of Sugar Creek and the hills
that bordered it. He therefore made his plans for attack-
ing on the other side, going completely around to the rear
and placing himself between the union army and its base.
With his great superiority of numbers he felt sure of win-
ning the battle, and in case he did so the whole union
force would be compelled to surrender, as it would have
no line of retreat. Possibly some of the cavalry and
horse artillery might get away, but this would be a small
matter compared with the capture of the whole of the
infantry and the immense wagon-train.
In carrying out this plan Van Dorn left the main road
about half-way between Sugar Creek and Fayetteville,
and moved by a side road which is nearly parallel to the
main one. This side road passes through Osage Springs
and Bentonville, branching at the latter place in the direc-
tion of Pineville, and connects with the main road near
the Missouri state line about eight miles further north.
The men carried rations for four days, and all were confi-
dent that by the end of that time they would be living
on the stores they were to capture from the union army.
At Bentonville, ten miles from the main camp at Sugar
Creek, Van Dorn's advance encountered General Sigel's
174 THE LOST ARMY.
command on the sixth of March, and had a sharply-con-
tested battle, though not a very destructive one on either
side. At first General Sigel supposed it was only a scout-
ing party that had advanced, but very soon the numbers
increased so rapidly that he saw it necessary to retreat.
And just as the attack began he received orders from
General Curtis to fall back to Sugar Creek, and conse-
quently his movements had the double stimulus of obedi-
ence to his superior and overwhelming numbers of the
The retreat was skilfully conducted, and was pro-
nounced by impartial students of the war a splendid dis-
play of military ability. Sigel sent his train ahead and
got it away safely ; then he put the rest of his forces in
motion, holding the enemy at bay with a single battery
of artillery and about one thousand of his best infantry.
As the enemy advanced it was met with a vigorous fire of
shot and shell from the rapidly- worked guns, supported
by the infantry. Half the battery was used for this pur-
pose, and while the advancing forces of the rebels were
thus checked and thrown into confusion, the rest of the
battery was sent ahead to take up a good position.
As soon as the report came that the otlier section was
in position the first would be limbered up and rapidly
rushed on, the infantry fell back to the support of the
guns which were ready for their Avork, and then as the
enemy advanced the reception of a few minutes before
was repeated. Meantime the first section had taken up a
new position ; and, fighting in this way, the retreat was
brilliantly successful, and Sigel's forces joined those of
Curtis before nightfall.
What made Sigel's success all the greater was that the
roads were in sad condition, being cut up by recent
rains, and all of them narrow. Much of the country was
wooded, and in some places densely so ; but this circum-
THE LOST AR3IT. 175
stance, while a disadvantage to the retreating force, was
also a hindrance to the assailing one, as they were liable
to fall into ambuscades unless they exercised great caution.
Sigel's loss in this retreat was less than one hundred men
altogether, and a good part of these were captured by
going on a wrong road and marching directly into the
enemy's lines. During the night a battery of four pieces
met the same fate, and the incident was thus humorously
described by one of the rebel officers :
" It was a little after dark," said he, " when our pickets
heard and soon saw a battery coming leisurely along the
road. The sergeant in charge of the picket took in the
situation at once, and when the battery came up to him
he promptly challenged it. In the gloom of the night the
captain did not observe the gray uniforms, and thought
himself among friends.
" ' We want to find General Asboth's Division,' said
"'All right,' replied the sergeant. 'Keep along this
road, and you '11 find it on the left. I '11 send a man along
to show you.'
" The captain thanked the sergeant and accepted the
guide, who took the battery into camp and quietly
told the boys what was up. They gathered around, and
before they knew where they were the artillerymen were
snaked oft" their horses and told to surrender. The poor
devil of a captain was awfully down in the mouth when
he found what a trap he 'd walked into."
During the night of the sixth Van Dorn kept most of
his men in motion, so that by daylight he had stretched
his line completely across the road between the union
army and its base at Springfield. General Curtis at the
same time was not idle, and changed his position, as we
have before stated, converting into the front what had
formerly been his rear. This compelled him to move all
176 THE LOST ARMY.
his wagons, excepting such as had already fallen into the
hands of the enemy, which, happily, were not numerous ;
but it also compelled him to fight on ground that had no
advantages for him, as would have been the case on the
Sugar Creek front ; besides, it was even better known to
the rebels than to himself, as they had nearly all the
people of the country on their side.
This was the state of affairs when Harry and Jack
returned from their expedition with General Vandever.
From a resident of the country they learned that the
ground where the union army was encamped was known
as Pea Ridge. Here was the force of General Curtis that
was to fight with nearly three times its number. It was
a wooded table-land with occasional openings, where the
timber had been cleared away to make room for fields.
There was hardly any water upon it, and for the two
entire days of the battle few of the animals had an oppor-
tunity to drink. The men also suffered severely, but as
a supply could be taken from Sugar Creek, at the rear of
the camp, they were less badly off than the horses and
"VVe will let Harry tell the story of the battle, which he
did in an account that he sent home, and was afterward
delighted to see in print.
" Neither Jack nor I got much sleep last night, as we
were all eagerness to see how the next day was going to
turn out ; and even if we had been sleepy, the noises that
kept up all night long would have interfered with us a
good deal. Our men that had walked so far were allowed
to rest, but most of the other regiments were moved about
so as to have them in a good position for the day's work,
that was sure to be very lively.
"Very soon after daylight the scouts came in and told
General Curtis that the country to the north, right along
our road to Springfield, was full of rebels, and they were
THE LOST ARMY. 177
advancing to attack us. The general thought it would
be a good thing to attack them first, or at all events to
meet them before they got close up to where we were.
"General Sigel was on our left with the divisions of
Generals Osterhaus and Asboth. It was reported that a
heavy force of rebels were coming in that direction, and
so Sigel was ordered to meet them. He sent General
Osterhaus out for that purpose, and he reached the line
on the road running north from Benton ville without
opposition. Just beyond the road he encountered what
was supposed to be a small body of rebels, who were
posted in a wood, and in order to drive them out he
opened fire upon them with three cannon. After a few
rounds had been fired he ordered the artillery to stop, and
sent some cavalry to finish the fighting and clear the
" Well, the wood was cleared ; but it was cleared the
other way from what had been expected. Instead of a
few rebels there, it turned out that ' the woods were full
of 'em,' the place being held by Pike's division of white
and Indian troops. The cavalry met a heavy fire of rifles,
shotguns and small arms of every kind, and the charge
was completely broken up ; and not only was the charge
broken up, but the rebels followed the retreating cavalry,
and in the confusion they managed to capture the three
cannon that had been shelling them.
" But they did n't keep the cannon very long, for Gen-
eral Osterhaus brought up his infantry and drove the rebels
away. The white and red rebels were busy plundering
and scalping the men they had captured, and were quar-
reling over the possession of the horses and saddles, and
while their attention was thus drawn away they were at-
tacked and defeated. The Indians and whites were all
mixed up in this fight, and several of the Indians were
left dead on the ground, along with some Texans, who
178 THE LOST ARMY.
were armed with big bowie-knives in addition to their
firearms. Tlie Texan s fought with these linives, and sev-
eral of our soldiers were killed by them."
This statement was made at tlie time, and has been
denied by the rebels. In proof of the correctness of the
assertion the following quotation from a rebel account in
the Richmond Whiff of April 9, 1862, ought to suffice :
" About forty-five men lay in the space of two or three liundred
yards to the rear of the battery ; all save one entirely dead, and aU
but tliree Dutchmen. One was gasping in the agonies of dissolu-
tion ; three were our comrades. Here was a sterner feature of the
war than any I had yet seen. The Texans, with their large, heavy
knives, had riven skulls in twain, mingling blood and brains and
hair. The sight was a sad one, but not devoid of satisfaction to
our own exiles from home and wife."
Pea Ridge would seem to have been the scene of more
barbaric fighting than any other battle of the war, when
we include the performances of Texans and Indians ; but
in defense of the Texans it may be said that the bowie-
knife is really no more barbaric a weapon than the sword
in its mode of operation, whatever may be urged against
the practice of carrying it habitually. The wounds de-
scribed by the writer in the Richmond Whic/ could easily
be attributed to a cavalry saber and nobody would think
it out of the ordinary modes of warfare.
With the increase of civilization in Texas and the
Southwest generally since the war the bowie-knife seems
to have gone out of fashion. Little is heard of it noAva-
days, and as the state of Texas has a law imposing a
heavy fine for the carrying of concealed weajDons, it is
probable that this famous implement will soon be forgot-
ten altogether, and be seen only in museums by the side
of the tomahawk and scalping-knife.
" Why is it called the bowie-knife ? " a youthful reader
THE LOST ARMY. 179
It is so called after Colonel Bowie, its inventor. His
name has clung to his knife just as that of Doctor Guil-
lotin has adhered to the beheading machine which he
designed, and that of Colonel Colt to his revolving
180 THE LOST ARMY.
THE FIGHTIXG NEAR ELKHORN TAVERN HARRY'S
EXPERIENCE UNDER FIRE,
Van Dorn's movements were delayed by the obstruc-
tions on the roads by which he moved. As soon as Gen-
eral Curtis became satisfied that the rebels were trying to
get around to his rear, he ordered General Dodge, who
commanded the fourth division of the army, to cut down
trees along the road leading north from Bentonville, and
the order was instantly carried out. General Dodge had
been ill in his tent for three days, but when the news of
the approaching enemy reached him he was cured as if by
magic. Remarking that it was no time to be sick, he got
out of bed, assumed the active command of his division,
and during the afternoon of the sixth supervised the work
of a large detail of men, who felled trees across the road
and otherwise blocked it to delay the rebel advance. He
kept at it until the rebel skirmishers began to fire upon
his men, and as he had orders not to bring on an engage-
ment he prudently withdrew.
" General Dodge was a trump," said Harry afterwards,
when telling the story of the battle ; " sick in his tent and
in the doctor's hands before the battle began, he was al-
most constantly in the saddle for three days. When the
battle was over and the enemy had retreated, he dropped
to the ground and went back to his sick-bed. It 's a good
example of what a man can do under excitement."
"And there was another example of the same sort," said
THE LOST ABMY. 181
Jack. " There was Major Post, of the Thirty-seventh Ilh-
nois who became General PhiUp Sidney Post, and served
gallantly in a good many battles. Early on the second
day at Pea Ridge he was wounded in the arm, but he kept
his place with his regiment and would not stop to have his
wound dressed. The surgeon insisted, but he would n't
go. ' T can walk and give orders,' he said, ' even if I can't
use my arm, and I 'm going to stay here.' The colonel of
his regiment had to order him to go to the field hospital.
He went very reluctantly, as he wanted to see the battle
fought out to the end, and was determined to do all he
could toward winning it."
The same spirit prevailed among officers and men
throughout the whole army. Of course there were in-
stances of shirking, as will always be the case in any
battle, but they were not numerous. Pei'haps the knowl-
edge that the enemy was right on the line of communica-
tions, so as to cut off retreat and render surrender nec-
essary in case of a defeat, had something to do with the
good conduct of a few, but it could not be the case
throughout the whole army. And to do the rebels justice,
they displayed similar courage, but they had the advantage
of being the attacking party and knowing that they were
superior in numbers to the union forces.
" On the morning of the seventh," said Harry, in his
story of the battle, " there was great activity all through
the union camp. Every drum and fife in the army was
called into use, and never before had the woods of Pea
liidge resounded to so much martial music. Rations for
two days had been prepared, the soldier's cartridge-boxes
were filled to their fullest capacity, every man made a
careful inspection of the lock of his rifle to make sure that
it was in perfect order, and then the order was given to
load with ball cartridge and be in readiness to advance
when the word was given.
182 THE LOST ARMY.
" We were kept waiting while General Sigel had his
fight with the enemy on the left of our line that I 've al-
ready told about. While we were getting ready for work
Jack and I went to General Vandever and asked what we
" ' What do you want to do ? ' said he.
" ' We want to do the best we can,' I answered, ' and help
all we can. We '11 do anything you tell us to do.'
" ' Well, then,' the general said, very quickly, ' stay
near me and act as my volunteer aids till I tell you to do
something else.' Then he turned away to attend to
getting his brigade in order, and we stood still and waited
till he came back.
" He was gone only a minute or two, and then told Jack
to ride over to General Carr and say the second brigade
was waiting for orders. He told me to go to General
Dodge and ask if he had received orders to move yet, and
to let him know whenever orders came.
"Jack came back with the order for the brigade to
follow that of General Dodge, which had received its
orders just before I got to it. One of General Carr's aids
had brought the order to General Dodge, and he rode with
me to General Vandever to repeat the order which Jack
had already brought.
" The order to advance \vas loudly cheered, and the
men stepped off as gayly as though they were gohig to
dress-parade, and most of them a great deal more so. I
couldn 't help thinking how many of these gallant fellows
would be stark and stiff on the ground or suffering with
wounds before another morning sun would rise on them.
We could hear the roll of musketry and the booming of
cannon where General Sigel was engaged on the left, and
before long our advance was engaged with that of the
rebels, and the shot and shell were crashing among the
trees as their artillery opened upon us.
THE LOST ARMY. 183
' General Dodge's brigade marched up the main road
toward the Missouri state line, and filed off to the east
near Elkhorn Tavern. As soon as it got into position it
opened with a battery upon the rebels, who were posted
in a wood on a slope in front. The battery was promptly
replied to, and then the shots were exchanged with great
rapidity. There were six guns on each side, though some
of our men thought the rebels had eight or ten guns, but
we afterward learned they had only six ; but it was the
best battery in their whole army. Our battery was the
First Iowa, and its captain prided himself on having
brought it to a state of great efficiency, but he wasn 't quite
equal to his antagonist.
" General Vandever's brigade went a little beyond Elk-
horn Tavern and took position on the left of the road
nearly opposite to where General Dodge had stretched out
to the right. As I sat on my horse close behind the gen-
eral I could see that we had a dry ravine in front of us
and a wooded slope farther on, and it did not need sharp
eyes to discover that this slope was well occupied by
rebels. The general ordered the Dabuque battery
(Captain Hayden) to open fire on these gray and butternut
coats, and as he did so there was a lively running of the
fellows to cover. They showed by their actions that
Captain Hayden's shots were well aimed; but we had
not given them more than two or three rounds before a
battery on the other side replied to us.
" That battery was evidently in the hands of a good
officer, as he got our range at the very first fire. A shot
came whistling close to the general, and 1 thought it
passed between him and me, but an officer who was there
said it went over our heads. You have no, idea if you 've
never heard it, what a spiteful screeching a cannon-shot
makes when it goes by you. Involuntarily you dodge,
but really dodging is of no use, as the ball has gone past
184 THE LOST ARMY.
you before you hear it. A cannon-ball moves a great deal
faster than sound. According to our school-books sound
moves one thousand one hundred and forty-two feet a
second, and the scientific gunners say the velocity of a
cannon-ball is from one thousand four hundred to
one thousand, eight hundred feet a second. That of a
rifle-ball is greater, and so by the time you can hear the
sound made by a missile, whether large or small, it has
gone way past you.
" At the third tire the rebels blew up one of our limber-
chests, which' was standing close behind the gun to which
it belonged. The great puff of smoke that rose from it
showed the rebels that they were taking good aim, and
they poured in their shot very ra^jidly after that. In ten
minutes more they blew up another limber-chest, and
then the general ordered the battery to change its position,
and sent me to carry the order to Captain Hay den.
"It was about nine o'clock in the morning when the
first shots were exchanged on this part of the field, and
in fifteen minutes the whole of General Carr's division
was engaged. Before I could get to Captain Hayden to
give him General Yandever's order the rebels made a rush
upon the battery and captured one of the guns ; the rest
were hauled back a short distance, and at the same time
the Ninth Iowa, which was supporting the battery, poured
in a heavy fire and covered the ground with the enemy's
dead and wounded. The rebels were driven back to their
cover in the woods, and the gun that had been captured
was retaken, as they did not have time to drag it from
" ' They stand like veterans,' said General Yandever,
referring to the soldiers of the Ninth Iowa. ' Their long
march yesterday has n't affected their courage. There
were never better men on a battlefield.'
" Just as he said this Colonel Herron, of the Ninth came
THE LOST ARMY. 185
up, and the general congratulated him ; and then the
general rode along the line and said to the soldiers the
same that he had to their commander. The men cheered
him and were evidently determined to do their part to-
ward winning the battle for the union side. But would they
succeed against all those masses of men that could be
seen on the hill-slope to the east and west, and crowded
in the brushwood and among the trees that stretched
away to the north ?
" After this for a while there was a lull in the fighting,
and meantime we could hear the artillery and small arms
to the left, where General Sigel and General Davis, with
their divisions, were sustaining the shock of the enemy.
They were overmatched in numbers, but their weapons
were more effective, and they had a better supply of am-
nnuiition. Many of the enemy were armed only with
squirrel-rifles and shot-guns, and, of course, they could
not load and fire with the rapidity of our men. Had they
been able to do so, and had their weapons been equally
effective with ours, the battle would have been hope-
lessly lost to us by reason of the great superiority of the
rebels in numbers alone and their better knowledge of the
" By and by we heard that Sigel and Davis had driven
away the enemy and were slowly drawing in their lines,
as only a small force were in front of them. The attack
on General Carr's division was renewed by the rebel artil-
lery, and we could see that they had a great number of
men gathered behind their battery to charge upon our
lines at the i^roper moment. So General Carr sent an
order for General Vandever to fall back, and at the same
time he gave a similar order to General Dodge.
"We fell back perhaps a hundred and fifty yards, close
to Elkhorn Tavern and a little to the north of it. There
our battery opened fire again, still supported by the Ninth
186 THE LOST ABMT.
Iowa, and there the rebel battery again poured its fire
" Near the house were two companies of infantry drawn
up in line and waiting orders to move. I had just gone
to carry an order for them to come up to the support of
the Ninth, when a, shell passed close to me and struck in
their ranks, where it burst. Two of the men were killed
and five were wounded by this shell. Almost at the same
time another shell exploded on the ground in front of the
house and shattered the leg of a soldier who stood there.
Another fell among some horse-teams, frightening the
animals into running away. They dashed up the road in
the direction of the enemy, and were lost in a cloud of
dust. In its runaway career one of the wagons knocked
down some of our soldiers, wounding one seriously and
two or three slightly. A solid shot struck the house and
went completely through it, but did no damage to any one,
as the family had taken refuge iu the cellar."
THE LOST ABMT. 187
GENERAL CAER's DIVISIOX DKIVEIST BACK JACK BECOMES A
" When I had delivered my orders, and just as I was
returning to General Yandever," continues Harry, " the
rebels made a charge upon our battery and the infantry
that supported it. This was about noon, or perhaps a little
later ; I can't say exactly, as I was too much excited to
make a note of the time.
" It was n't a bayonet charge that they made, because
they had no bayonets to charge with. They charged with
double-barreled shotguns, loaded with ball and buckshot,
and to judge by the result, the shotgun in this way is a
formidable weapon. They reserved their fire until they
were pretty close to our lines ; then they delivered it at
short range and without taking any particular aim, rely-
ing on the scattering of the balls and buckshot to give a
deadly effect to the assault. They were met with well-
delivered volleys from our rifles and driven back, and
they left the ground strewed with their dead and
Again they charged, after resting a little while, and
again they met with the same reception ; but they man-
aged to force us back a little. Then there was another lull,
but only a short one, and suddenly the shot and shell
rained along tlie whole length of our line. General Dodge
was forced back, and so was General Yandever. Many of
our officers fell and were carried to the hospitals in the
188 THE LOST ARMY.
rear, and many of our brave soldiers were stretched on
the ground. There was a niehincholy satisfaction in
knowing that the enemy was losing heavily, but with his
advantage in numbers he could keep up the fight, if only
his ammunition held out, long after our whole force would
be used up. General Carr sent several times for rein-
forcements, but there were none to be sent to him. Gen-
eral Curtis told him to ' persevere,' and so he did, and,
fighting whenever the enemy advanced, he continued all
through the afternoon.
" ' I must have three regiments and two batteries, or
sunset and darkness,' said the general, 'or I cannot hold
Just before one of the charges which the rebels made
near Elkhorn Tavern, General Yandever sent Jack with
an order to Colonel Herron. On came the rebels, and
down went Jack's horse with a bullet through his neck;
another bullet grazed Jack's side, but onl}'^ scratched the
skin, after tearing a great hole in his coat. At the same
time Colonel Herron's horse fell dead, a cannon-shot hav-
ing gone clear through him, and in the fall the colonel
Avas severely hurt; a musket-ball struck his leg, and
between the fall and the wound he was unable to stand.
Jack rushed to his side to raise him, and as he did so the
rebels closed around them.
" Surrender ! " said a tall fellow in a butternut coat and
trousers, as he flourished a shotgun and pointed it at
"There 's nothing else to be done," replied the colonel.
" But you '11 have to help me to go along with you; I don't
believe I can walk."
" I '11 show you how to walk," exclaimed the fellow.
What he proposed to do will be forever unknown, as just
then an officer came up and received the colonel's surren-
der. He ordered two men to assist him to the rear, and
THE LOST ABMT. 189
then went on to look after the fighting that was raging in
Jack's presence had not been specially observed, as
both soldier and officer had been attracted to the advan-
tage of securing the captured colonel. Jack was meditat-
ing on the possibility of slipping through the lines some-
how and getting to his friends, when he thought of the
wounded colonel and the possibility of assisting him.
" It '11 be a hard time for Colonel Herron, wounded and
a prisoner," said Jack to himself, " and it '11 be mighty
risky for me to try to run back through the lines. I
might be shot by my own friends, and that I should n't
Whether he meant by this that he had no objections to
being shot by the enemy we will not undertake to say,
but certain it is that he was not unlike others in being
specially averse to being shot by mistake. One of the
bitterest reflections that has ever been made by the
southern people on the death of Stonewall Jackson is, that
he was killed by his own men, who mistook him and his
escort for a scouting party of the enemy.
Jack had hastily made up his mind to stay by the
colonel, when he was rudely taken in charge by one of the
rebel soldiers and ordered to march along with him. He
asked to be allowed to remain with Colonel Plerron. At
first the request was refused, but on the latter giving his
parole not to attempt to escape, and vouching that Jack
would do the same, he was permitted to accompany the
officer to whom he was so much attached.
They were sent to the rear, but for some minutes were
not out of danger, as the cannon-shot from their own lines
were crashing through the trees or plowing up the ground
in their vicinity. A limb cut from a tree by one of these
shots fell close to Jack, and some of the twigs brushed
him in their descent ; had the limb fallen upon him the
190 THE LOST ARMY.
result might have been serious. Not six feet from where
he was standing at one time a falling branch killed a Con-
federate soldier and severely wounded two or three others.
A company of cavalry was completely broken up by an
exploding shell, the horses taking alarm and becoming
utterly uncontrollable. In spite of the efforts of their
riders to restrain them they ran away, and the men were
violently thrown to the ground or brushed oft" among the
We may remark here that owing to the wooded nature
of the ground where the battle of Pea IJidge was fought,
the cavalry on both sides were of comparatively little use.
Among the brushwood and trees that spread over that
region it was impossible to preserve the formation of the
lines sufficiently to make a charge with any effect, except
in a very few instances. Then, too, where the artillery
was firing, the crashing of the shot and shell among the
trees and the falling of the limbs frightened the horses, as
we have just seen, and rendered them worse than useless.
The ca,valry was unable to accomplish anything of conse-
quence, through no fault of the men, but owing to the
nature of the country, and in several instances the runa-
way horses demoralized the infantry by dashing through
the lines at inopportune moments.
The history of warfare in all ages abounds in accounts
of panic created by runaway animals on the battlefield.
Frightened elephants and horses caused the loss of
battles by the Greeks, Romans and other warriors of anti-
quity, long before the invention of gunpowder. Since its
discovery and use the instances of its panic-producing
qualities are numerous. So much is this the case that
the elephant among the Eastern nations has been almost
entirely discarded on the battlefield, and is now only used
in war for the more prosaic purposes of a beast of burden.
With the increased range of artillery and small-arms in
THE LOST ABMT. 191
the past forty years the horse is g-radually dimhiishing in
importance as a fighting animal, and cavahy is chiefly
useful nowadays for scouting purposes and for pursuing
a demoralized enemy in retreat.
We will leave the two captives in the hands of their
captors and return to Harry, whom we left with General
The Ninth Iowa -was getting out of ammunition, and
the general sent Harry to order up a fresh supply. Away
•he rode to the rear, where the ammunition-wagons were
stationed, and very quickly hunted up the one that he
w\anted and sent it forward. He not only sent but ac-
companied it, partly in order to show the road and partly
to make sure that the driver did not turn aside on the
way and seek a place of greater safety than where the
shot and shell were falling. The driver was a brave
fellow, however, and energetically lashed his team to
keep up with the galloping youth in front of him.
By the tim'e they reached the fighting line the regiment
had again fallen back, leaving Elkhorn Tavern in the
hands of the enemy. Not only did Harry bring the am-
munition, which was speedily distributed, but he brought
a message from General Curtis to General Carr that he
was about to be reinforced.
" General Asbotli has just returned from pursuing the
rebels on the left," said Harry, " and is coming with two
regiments and a battery to support you."
The word ran along the line like wildfire, and the men
cheered heartily. Again the rebels came on in great
force, and again they were met by a withering fire, and
also by a bayonet charge by the infantry of both brigades
of Carr's divisi(m.
But the rebels were as brave as the men they were
facing, and before the reinforcements could reach the
sorely-pressed division there was another charge, which
192 THE LOST ARMY
forced the union line back across a series of open fields
to the edge of a wood, whicli gave it the same sort of
shelter the rebels had enjoyed during the greater part of
the day. The union forces had the advantage now, as
the enemy was obliged to make its charges across the
fields, which could be raked with the artillery and small-
arms with destructive efi:'ect.
" We 've got 'em now," said General Vandever, turning
to one of his ofiicers; "and here we'll stick till night
comes to stop the fighting. Sunset will come in an hour,
and we can easily hold the position till then."
His prediction was verified. The ^only attack made by
the rebels on the last position was easily repulsed, and
then the sun dipped below the horizon and the battle
was over for the day.
The hostile forces lay within a thousand feet or so of
each other all through the night, neither party daring to
light a fire anywhere along its front, for fear of revealing
its whereabouts. The air was still, and conversation M^as
carried on in whispers, for fear of scouts creeping close up
to the lines and overhearing what was said. The weary
men lay down where they were, and sought the sleep
they so much needed after the long day's fighting. As
for the generals and other ofiicers few of them closed an
eye during the long night, as they were occupied with
plans and preparations for the morrow.
In all the camp there was no one more active than our
young friend Harry. He sadly missed the companionship
of Jack, but having learned from a prisoner taken in the
last charge and repulse of the rebels that his friend was
uninjured and with Colonel Herron, he rejoiced, on the
whole, at the situation. "He'll be useful to the colonel,
and perhaps it 's all for the best that he's a prisoner just
now," was his soliloquy as he turned to General Vandever
and asked if he had any orders.
Indians Scalping the Dead.
THE LOST AEMY. 193
" Yes," answered the general. " Go to camp and order
up some coffee, bread and meat for the men, and send
along their blankets and overcoats. We '11 stay right
here through the night, and be ready for what comes in
Away went Harry with the order. When he reached
the camp he found the order had been anticipated, as the
camp-guard and wagon-drivers had a good supper ready,
as good as the army rations afforded, and in less than fif-
teen minutes it was loaded into wagons, where the over-
coats and blankets already were lulled, and dispatched
to the front.
194 THE LOST ABMY.
THE NIGHT IN CAMP — BEGINNING OF THE LAST DAY's
"You've done well," said the general. "Now go and
lie down somewhere and get all the sleep you can, as you '11
have enough to do to-morrow."
Harry touched his cap in acknowledgment of the com-
mand and then jogged back to camp, which was not more
than a mile to the rear. Learning that it was possible to
get to the bank of the creek without danger, he rode down
there and watered his horse. The animal drank long and
eagerly, as he had not had a drop of water through the
long and active day. Then he returned to the camp, and
fastening the animal to a wagon- wheel, having first filled
his nose-bag with grain, he lay down beneath the wagon
and tried to sleep.
But he slept very little, j^robably not thirty minutes al-
together. Everything was in commotion around the
camp. Ambulances were coming and going to bring in
the wounded men ; the doctors were busy with their suf-
fering patients ; men were sitting or standing in little
groups, deeply engaged in speculating on the probable
events of the morrow ; mounted men were moving about
with orders or messages or seeking missing oflBcers or
soldiers, and probably not one person in twenty thought
of sleep. In the whole position occupied by the army
during that night it is probable that the most quiet spot
was where the division of General Carr had bivouacked
THE LOST ARMY. 195
in front of the enemy, for there, at any rate, they slept
At the beginning of the battle in the morning all the
teams had been harnessed, to be ready to move the wagons
whenever M'anted. The mules had not been fed for forty-
eight hours, nor had they received a drop of water for
half that time. The voice of a mule at its best is not
melodious, and when to the ordinary sound of his bray is
added a plaintive wail of suffering it falls distressingly on
the ear. Lower and lower grew the note till it fell to a
moan that was well calculated to banish sleep from any
one not entirely worn out with exertion. So thought
Harry, and after several vain endeavors he rose to his feet
and joined one of the groups of soldiers and drivers who
were discussing the situation.
During the evening the lines of the army were drawn
in on the left and preparations were made to bring the
forces of Sigel and Davis, who had suffered but slightly
during the day, to the relief of the worn out division of
General Carr, The concentration was completed by mid-
night : General Davis's division was placed on the left,
General Carr's in the center, and the two divisions of
General Sigel held the right of our line. Thus arranged,
the brunt of the fighting would be concentrated on Sigel's
command in case the rebels remained in the positions
where they were at nightfall. In case they had changed
during the night, it would enable General Carr to be
quickly re-enforced if the odds against him should be as
heavy as they were on the day before.
Harry rode out to the front again a little before daylight,
and as he passed along the road he heard the sound of
vocal music rolling up from the German regiments that
composed the greater part of General Sigel's command.
He was unacquainted with German, and so the words of
the song were unknown to him, but the music under the
196 THE LOST ABMT.
circumstances sounded strangely. "And yet," he re-
marked to himself, " it seems to me that I' ve read of some-
thing of the kind somewhere else.
" Now I remember," said he, suddenly, as he straightened
in his saddle ; " it was in the Crimean war, the night be-
fore the storming of the MalakofE and Redan and the
capture of Sebastopol. I recall it all now ; the whole
British army in the trenches sang the words of a Scottish
air, with which all were familiar, and the story has been
told in verse by Bayard Taylor. Here are some of his
" ' They sang of love, and not of fame,
Forgot was Britain's glory.
Each heart recalled a different name
But all sang Annie Laurie.
' ' Voice after voice caught up the song,
Until its tender passion
Rose like an antlieni rich and strong,
Their battle eve's confession.
" ' Dear girl, tlae name he dared not speak.
Yet as the song grew louder,
Something upon the soldier's cheek
Washed off the stain of powder.
'■ ' And Irish Nora's eyes are dim
For a singer dumb and gory ;
And Enghsli Mary mourns for him
Who sang of Annie Laurie.
" ' Sleep, soldiers, in your honored rest,
Your truth and valor bearing ;
The bravest are the tenderest,
The loving are the daring.'
" Perhaps that 's a love song the Germans are singing,"
thought Harry, as he paused in repeating the lines of the
verses given above, " and they are acting over again the
scene of the attack on Sebastopol. I hope the battle will
THE LOST AjRMT. 197
turn out as well for us as did that one for the allied army
of the English and French."
Daybreak came and then sunrise. Harry had hoped for
a clear morning, but his hopes were doomed to disappoint-
ment. During the previous day the smoke had frequently
hung thickly over the field, at times rendering the com-
batants invisible to each other and greatly hindering the
movements on both sides. All through that cool and
almost frosty night the smoke hung low over the ground,
and as the sun rose on the morning of the eighth of March
it pierced through a cloud that seemed more like fog than
anything else, and was first visible as a dull ball of copper,
on which the youth could easily fix his eyes without blink-
ing. The sun showed itself only a short time and then the
sky became overcast, and for a while it looked as though
the day might be rainy.
We will now listen to Harry's account of the last day's
" I thought they would begin at daylight, and so did
everybody else ; or at any rate, everybody was ready on
our side for the opening of the battle. But though we
could see the rebels in strong force right in front of ns,
and evidently as ready as we were, there was hardly a shot
fired, except by the skirmishers, until after eight o'clock.
They left the opening of the day's work to us, and we
did n't go about it till we were ' good and ready.'
"General Curtis intended the heaviest of the fighting
for General Sigel's two divisions, as they had suffered
least on the day before. The rebels had been busy during
the night, and planted some of their batteries on a hill
perhaps a hundred feet high, which sloped away to the
north, but was quite steep on the face toward us. It was
very much such a position as we had at Sugar Creek,
where the enemy wisely chose not to attack. Xow we
had no choice but to attack them, and they were prepared
198 THE LOST AEMY.
for a vigorous defense, as they had large masses of sup-
porting infantry at the base of the hill on both sides, and
also several pieces of artillery scattered among the in-
" Under cover of the woods at the edge of the corn-field
which lay between us and the enemy, General Sigel planted
his batteries and drew up his infantry and cavalry where
they could give efficient support. We wondered why the
rebels did not open fire upon him while he was getting
ready, but we learned afterward that they felt confident
of defeating him when the actual fighting should begin,
and besides they were short of artillery ammunition and
wanted to make evei-y shot tell. They argued that if they
opened fire the guns would be withdrawn and tliey would
be compelled to leave the place, where they had so much
advantage of position, and follow us wherever we drew
" I stood where I could see pretty much all that was
going on there, and it was certainly a wonderful picture.
The white and withered stalks of the corn in the field
contrasted sharply with the dark-blue coats of our men
when they advanced from the edge of the wood to the open
ground, and, luckily for us, the smoke blew away a little
before eight o' clock and gave us a clear view across the
field. We could easily make out the rebel lines and the
positions of the cannon that were ready to open upon us.
Our cannoneers stood to their guns and waited the com-
mand to open fire ; the rebel artillery-men were evidently
doing the same thing, and on both sides the infantry were
prepared for whatever was demanded of it.
" General Sigel gave the order, and a dozen cannon
fired very quickly, one after the other. Each gunner took
sight against a tree on the hill where the rebel batteries
were stationed, and tried the effect of his shot upon it.
The first shots were too high, and a turn of the elevating-
THE LOST AR3fY. 199
screw depressed the muzzle of the gun. The second shot
was generally too liigh, though with some it proved just
right ; but with nearly every gun the third shot was
exactly the proper range. Then the aim was taken at
the rebel guns that were just beginning to fire, and for
nearly two hours there was an artillery duel, in which
the infantry had little to do but to look on.
" Through their glasses the officers could see that our
fire was having terrible effect. Several of the rebel can-
non were disabled and sent to the rear. Several of our
guns were disabled and retired, and their places promptly
filled by others ; but somehow the enemy did not seem to
have a reserve to draw upon. Their fire slackened, their
infantry seemed to be melting away, and through the
smoke several of their men ran across to our lines and
" This confirmed what had already been reported
through our camp, that General McCulloch had been killed,
and also General Mcintosh, one of their best officers, and
formerly of the regular army. They said they had been
entirely confident of capturing all of us, but the death
of these generals had disheartened a good many of the
men ; and they were very short of provisions and am-
" We had thirty pieces of artillery playing on the rebels
at one time. They could not respond with so many, and
as their artillery fire slackened General Sigel suddenly
ordered some of the guns to change their fire into the
ranks of the infantry and cavalry that were waiting on
the enemy's flanks ready to charge us when ordered.
" The shell, grape and canister tore great swaths in
the crowded ranks and piled up windrows of dead and
wounded. No troops except the most stolid Asiatics
could stand such a fire as that. The cavalry and infantry
melted away, and the artillery was without support. A
200 THE LOST ARMY.
battery of three guns on an open space at one side of the
hill, and near the road, became troublesome, and the fire
of one of our batteries was turned upon it. Then, as the
return fire slackened, the wind blew away the smoke and
revealed its exact position.
" ' Send a regiment to take that battery,' said General
Sigel to one of his staff.
" The honor was given to the Twelfth Missouri, and as
soon as the order was received away they dashed for their
woik. Across the field they went at full charge, losing
twelve men killed outright and more than twice that
number wounded, but not once did they halt. When the
rebels saw them coming they rallied several companies of
infantry to tlie support of the battery, but too late to
save it. The charge was successful and the guns were
THE LOST ABMY. 201
THE REBELS DEFEATED END OF THE BATTLE LNDIAN'S
SCALPING OUR SOLDIERS AND MUTILATING THEIR BODIES.
" "While Sigel's batteries had been pouring their iron
hail upon tlie hill which formed the center of the rebel
position the divisions of Carr and Davis had slowly ad-
vanced till they occupied the woods where the rebels were
posted when the fight began. I should have said our
guns stopped two or three times, partly to allow them to
cool and partly to carry them forward to a closer range.
The melting away of the rebel lines was the last act of
the battle. The order to retire was given, and before
noon the fighting was over.
" General Sigel's command went in pursuit, while the
rest of the army remained on the field. The chase was
kept up for twelve miles and then given up, as the rebels
had a fair road before them and could push on without
danger, Avhile w^e had to be constantly on the lookout for
ambuscades. General Sigel captured a good many wagons
with supplies and some ammunition, and his men picked
up about a thousand stand of arms which the fleeing
rebels had thrown away. They were of very little use,
as they were mostly shotguns and squirrel-rifles. The
best among them were picked out by the oflBcers, to send
home as trophies of the campaign and in memory of the
battle we had won.
" As soon as it was certain that the rebels had gone and
the field was ours we set about lookins: after the w^ounded.
202 THE LOST ABMY.
General Vandever went to the hill wliere the rebel bat-
teries had been posted in the morning, and took me along
with him. Such a sight as I saw there I hope never to
" The ground was covered with dead and wounded men,
the most of them dead, as they were struck down by shot
and shell or by grape and canister. Some were killed by
the falling limbs of trees, and one man was crushed by the
weight of a limb five or six inches in diameter that had
fallen directly upon his shoulders and pressed him to the
ground. One tree had been pierced through from side to
side by a solid shot ; its top was shivered by a shell, and
its trunk was pierced by a dozen or more canister-balls.
Here lay the fragments of a battery- wagon that had been
blown up, and not far off were five artillery wheels.
Three mules lay dead by the side of the broken wagons,
and one of them was so torn by the explosion that little
more than the general shape of the animal remained.
" In a space thirty feet square I counted seven dead
men and three wounded ones, one of the latter just gasp-
ing his last. A little further on there were fifteen
wounded rebels, all begging and imploring for water. I
gave them all my canteen contained, and so did the rest
of the party, and the general sent me oft' for more. As I
turned my horse to ride away he jumped aside to avoid
stepping on a prostrate man whose arm had been torn off
by a cannon-shot, and as he jumped he almost trod on
another whose leg had been shattered. Close by a tree
was a dead man whose head had l)een blown off by a
shell, and by his side was another dead man whose breast
was pierced by a grapeshot. A letter had fallen from
his pocket, and I sprang to the ground and picked it up,
intending to read it later.
" The letter was addressed to Pleasant J. Williams,
Churchill's regiment, Fayettevil'.e, Ark. ; it was from a girl
THE LOST ARMY. 203
in Kentucky, to whom Williams was evidently engaged,
if I may judge by the tenor of the document. I shall
keep it in the hope of some day being able to return it to
the writer. She was an ardent rebel, but evidently a very
sweet and loving young woman, though, unfortunately,
she does not inclose her photograph.
" I went for the water as fast as I could, and wondered
how I was to bring it, as I had but a single canteen. On
the way 1 passed through the camp, and when I told a
captain of the Third Illinois cavalry the object of my
mission, he detailed four men to go with me, and told them
to gatlier up a dozen canteens to carry water to the wounded
men. Tired as the men and their horses were, the soldiers
went eagerly on their errand of mercy, and it almost
made me cry to see how tenderly they cared for the poor
fellows who were so lately their enemies. Curious thing,
this business of making war! Soldiers try their very
best to kill each other, but when the fighting is over they
do all they can to help the very men they shot down only
a little while before.
" Before I got back to the hill where the wounded men
were lying a rebel surgeon had arrived with a flag of
truce, and was doing all he could for the sufferers. But
several were so badly hurt that they could n't be saved,
and one of them died within two minutes after swallow-
ing a draught of water I gave him.
"A horrible thing happened here close to this hill.
The bursting of shells, or some burning wads, had set fire
to the dry leaves that covered the ground, and the woods
were burning in every direction. We tried to remove the
wounded before the fire reached them, and thought we
had got them all away ; afterward some were found in
secluded spots, and though still alive, they had been
terribly burned and blackened by the fire among the
leaves and fallen brushwood. One poor fellow had crawled
204 THE LOST ARMY.
close to a dry log that was set on fire by the burning
leaves, and was so badly burned that he died soon after
being found. The doctors said his wounds were so severe
that it is doubtful if he could have lived even if the fire
had not reached him.
" We had repeatedly heard that the rebels were very
badly supplied with shoes, and there was proof of the
truth of this statement in the way they stripped the shoes
from the feet of dead and mortally-wounded men, no mat-
ter to which side they belonged. Not one corpse in
twenty of all that I saw on the l)attlefield had shoes on
its feet. In some cases pantaloons and coats were removed,
but such instances were not numerous, the great need of
the rebels seeming to be in the line of shoes. Of course,
the clothing of our soldiers would hardly be desired by the
rebels, as it would be dangerous for them to wear, and
they have no ready means of changing its color.
"The general told me to look for him at Elkhorn
Tavern as soon as I had carried out the order about taking
water to the wounded rebels, and I did so. On the way
I passed the spot where a captain of a rebel battery was
killed near the close of the battle, his head having been
carried away by one of our cannon-shot. They said his
name was Churchill Clark, and that he was the son of a
prominent politician well known in the state of Missouri.
Young Clark was educated at the military academy at
West Point, and was said to be a splendid officer. He
turned against the government the advantages of the educa-
tion he had received at its expense. He was carried away
by the idea that the right of the state was paramount to
the right of the nation, and this is the end of states-
rights for him — killed in battle at Pea Ridge.
" But if the battlefield was horrible, the scene at Elk-
horn was worse. Dead and wounded men were lying all
about, the house was filled with wounded, and every few
THE LOST ABMY. 205
minutes a corpse was brought out to make room for a
man whom the surgeons hoped to save. Blood was every-
where, and the sight was a sickening one. All the medical
men were busy as they could be, and with the hardest
work they were not able to give much attention to each
" The next morning the general sent me to Elkhorn
with a message to one of the surgeons. Outside of the
building was a row of corpses of officers and men mingled
indiscriminately, most of them having died during the
night from the effect of their wounds or after amputation
of limbs. Several legs and arms that had been cut off,
were lying on the ground, some of the legs having the
stocking and perhaps a portion of the pantaloons still in
" The attendants were busy removing the corpses and
carrying them to a place of burial. Each was covered
with a blanket, and officers and men were moving among
them, raising the blanket coverings one after the other,
in order to find some missing individual. ' That 's Captain
,' said one of the officers, as he turned down a blanket
and revealed a face and the double-barred shoulder-straps
which indicated the rank of the wearer. 'That's private
, of Co. B,' or ' that's Sergeant , of regiment,'
were the remarks of the attendants as they went steadily
on with their work. Here sat a soldier who was crying
bitterly, as he had just discovered the body of his brother
among the dead. The surgeons and their aids gave him
no attention ; in fact, they were quite regardless of any-
thing except the wounded whom they were trying to save.
" Details were sent out to look carefully over the ground
where the battle was fought, in order to bring in the
wounded and bury the dead. The work of humanity was
rapidly performed, and before night all the dead had been
laid to their rest, and all the wounded, except a few who
206 THE LOST ARMY.
were not discovered until afterwards, were relieved as
far as possible. The dead, where they lay thickly, were
buried in trenches containing ten and in some cases
twelve or fifteen corpses, but in most cases they were
buried singly or by two's and three's. Most of those who
fell at Pea Ilidge found their graves where they lay, and
there they will sleep undisturbed through all the rest of
this war that is convulsing the country and threatening
the existence of a nation which was founded as the home
of universal liberty.
" From the hospital I carried a message to Colonel
Bussey, of the Third Iowa Cavalry, who had returned
from pursuing the rebels as far as Bentonville, and was
just then in that part of the field where his regiment
made a charge upon the combined white and Indian troops
of General Pike, and was repulsed with the loss of several
men. It afterward, as I have said elsewhere, rallied and
defeated the rebels, recapturing three guns of a battery
which had been temporarily lost.
" The rebels may deny as much as they please that the
Indians scalped their fallen foes, but here was the evidence
that they did it. Eight men of Colonel Bussey's cavalry
were killed in the charge, and the Indians occupied the
ground immediately and took off the scalps of those eight
men and otherwise mutilated their bodies. Some of the
bodies indicated that the men were only wounded and not
dead when the Indians came into possession of them by
the repulse of the cavalry, but the scoundrels quickly
dispatched them with the tomahawk. Marks of the
tomahawk, or some weapon like it, were plainly visible on
several bodies, and the surgeons who examined the gun-
shot wounds on some of the bodies declared that they
were not sufficient to cause death.
"Colonel Bussey and several of his officers and men
have made oath to the evidences of the use of the toma-
THE LOST ARMY. 207
hawk and scalping-knife by the Indian alhes of the
rebels, and the documents will be placed on record. It is
probable that more than this number were scalped, as
several bodies were buried before an investigation was
thought of, but about these eight there can be no mistake.
We hope the rebels are proud of these murderous savages,
who may yet turn upon them in their frenzy when least
expected to do so. A few of the Indians were captured,
and if our men had not been restrained by their officers
they would have hanged or shot the rascals. General
Curtis has allowed all the rebel surgeons to come and go
freely under parole, with the exception of the surgeon of
an Indian regiment ; him the general is keeping a close
prisoner, and will send under guard to St. Louis."
The rebels disappeared so suddenly from the battlefield
that the union commanders could not make out where
they had gone. General Sigel went after them in one
direction and Colonel Bussey in another, but could not
overtake them, and the pursuit was soon given up. It
seems they turned off through several hollows and ravines,
taking obscure roads, and finally reuniting in the neigh-
borhood of Bentonville, where they camped for the night.
A good many of them continued along the road without
halting, determined to get a safe distance between them-
selves and the terrible Yankees. Previous to the battle
the oflBcers had spread the most startling stories about
northern atrocities to prisoners, with the object of nerving
the men up to a high pitch of courage.
On this subject let us listen to Jack, whom Ave left in
the hands of the enemy, and who was carried away by
them in their retreat.
" The night after they captured the colonel, and took
me along with him," said Jack, " we had a hard old time
of it. We had very little to eat, and nothing but our clothes
to sleep in. We were no worse off than the officers and
208 THE LOST ARMY.
men around us, as there were a good many of them that
had n't any blankets, and nearly all were ragged and fear-
fully out at the elbows. Each man had for his rations a
piece of corn-bread as dry as a stone and nearly as hard,
and some of them had nothing more than an ear or two
of corn, that they chewed on as though they were horses.
One of the doctors dressed Colonel Herron's wounded leg.
He could n't stand on it, and when he wanted to move
around I helped him on one side and one of the hospital
attendants on the other. They put him in an ambulance
along with one of their own wounded ofiBcers and started
us off on the road to Bentonville, and there we stayed
through the night. Probably they would have sent us
further if they 'd known how the next day's battle was
" They were going to send me off with the soldiers, but
Colonel Ilerron asked to be permitted to keep me as a
personal attendant. He offered to give his parole and be-
come responsible that I would not escape, the same as he
had done when we were first captured, and this they ac-
cepted after a little palaver. At one time I thought they
wouldn't do it, and began to think I 'd have to trudge along
the road with the soldiers. And I think I owe my good
fortune to an old friend ; at least I '11 call him so, as he
acted like a friend, though he had no reason to remember
" You remember the captain we helped to capture near
Rolla when we went on our scouting expedition on foot ? "
*' Certainly," replied Harry ; " I remember him well."
" He was the man that befriended me," said Jack, " and
he did it just at the right time, too. He was one of the
officers that was debating whether to do as the colonel
wanted, and let me go with him, and while they were
talking a little way oft" from us he kept eying me all
over. After a while he came up to me and said :
THE LOST ABMY. 209
" ' Are you one of the boys that was out one day on the
road from Rolla to Pilot Knob, and found out where a
captam had a recruiting camp ? '
" I turned all sorts of colors, I know, and while I was
trying to stammer out something to convince him I was n't
the boy he was looking for he nodded his head in a satis-
fied sort of way.
"I thought my case was done for and he 'd have me
shot sure, but he only laughed and said I was made of
good stuff and had ' got the sand,' whatever that was.
Then he went back and talked with the others, and after
a few minutes he came to me and said he would be re-
sponsible for me.
" My heart went down in my boots at this, but he did n't
let it stay there long. ' You 're all right,' said he, ' and
you may go with your colonel. But, first, you must give
me your solemn word of honor that you won't try to es-
cape as long as you are allowed to be with him.'
" I gave my word of honor and signed a parole which
he wrote out, and then he said he thought he could trust
me. ' You caught me once,' said he, ' but you were n't
under any parole, and I had no business to talk with you
as I did. You boys did a smart thing, and just the kind
of thing I believe in, and as long as you 're in my hands
I '11 look out for you. And I '11 look out for you, too,' he
added, dropping his voice, ' if you try any Yankee tricks
on me now that you 're under parole.'
" I repeated my promise, and felt relieved at the way he
acted toward me. Then he hurried a man off and got
something for us to eat. It was n't much, only a slice of
corn-bread and a piece of bacon for me, and a tin cupful of
tea and some more bacon and bread for the colonel. He
told me to stay by the ambulance, where the colonel was,
and said I could ride with the driver, except when they
were going up-hill, where I must get off and walk."
210 THE LOST ARMY.
jack's experiences as a prisoner REBEL SOLDIERS'
" To judge by the number of times I had to get ofif and
walk," continued Jack, " it was up-hill pretty nearly all
the way to Fayetteville. A wounded major of the rebel
army was put in the ambulance alongside of Colonel
Ilerron, and when we got to Fayetteville I had to give up
my place to a rebel captain who had been shot in the arm.
Of course I couldn't complain at this, and thought my-
self lucky to have been allowed to ride so far as I did ride.
I had to walk the rest of the way, and though I was young
and strong, it was impossible for me to keep up with the
ambulance when they had a good road. But as most of
the road was bad and a good deal blocked by wagons,
I managed to be along with the ambulance every night
and two or three times generally during the day. It was
lucky for me that the ambulance horses were pretty well
tired out with overwork and poor feed, and at one time
the driver was afraid he would n't be able to get them
through to Van Buren, where we had been ordered
" There were six men on horseback who rode along with
the ambulance, to make sure that we did n't get away.
Our captors were evidently mindful of the old motto,
' Fast bind, fast find,' and they had us not only on our
parole, but under guard. When it was found that I had
to walk I was put with half-a-dozen other prisoners in
THE LOST ARMY. 211
charge of two of the mounted men. They were rather
surly at first, but after a while we got on good terms
with them by helping them to pick up forage for their
horses, of which they were in great need. There was n't
much to be picked up, as the country had been pretty
thoroughly cleaned out by the army in its advance to at-
tack us, and in the previous retreat when we first came
into the state.
" The road over the Boston mountains is a rough one,
and the wagons could n't get along there any faster than
men on foot ; they had to go slow to avoid breaking axles
and smashing A^heels, and all along the road there were
dozens of wagons that had broken down and been aban-
doned. Soon after we left Fayetteville the news came
that the army had been defeated and was falling back,
but this was treated as a rumor at first, and our rebel
guards laughed at it as absurd. A few hours later some
mounted men came along carrying dispatches to Fort
Smith, and then we heard positively that our side had won
and the rebels were really falling back.
"I wanted to raise a cheer, but thought it would not be
wise to do so, as our guards might make it harder for us
if we made any sort of a demonstration. I passed the
word among the rest, and we agreed to pretend that it
could n't be so, as our army Mas so much smaller than
theirs and we had used up nearly all our amnnmition at
the time we were captured. We consoled ourselves with
the reflection that we should probably be exchanged
before long, as we ought to have prisoners enough in our
hands to make an even trade.
" We camped as soon as night came on, and I had no
trouble in finding the colonel's ambulance and giving him
all the help and comfort that I could. His wounded leg
pained him a good deal, and the rebel surgeon said it
would be better if it could be bathed in cold water.
212 THE LOST AEMY.
" I went at work at once and bathed the swollen part so
that it visibly went down, and the pain was much less.
I was at it for a full hour, and then the colonel made me
lie down and sleep, as he would n't hear of my being up
all night. I slept as sound as a log, but was up before
daylight to give the leg another bath before we started.
My friend, the rebel captain, came around while I was at
work and said I seemed so handy that he reckoned they
would keep me as a hospital attendant, and not send me
back in exchange if they made any. I told him I did n't
want to go back until the colonel did, and I was perfectly
willing to be a hospital attendant as long as I could be
" All along the road there was great curiosity to look
at the Yankee prisoners and see what they were like.
By the way some of the people stared at us, they must
have expected to see some horrid monsters, and were
really surprised to find that we were human beings.
Some of them abused us, and others looked on in silence,
as they might have looked at an elephant or a five-legged
calf. At one house, where we stopped to get a drink of
water, a woman came out and lashed her tongue in a fit
of rage at the ' Yankee cut-throats,' as she called us.
She hoped we would all be hanged as soon as we got to
Fort Smith, and if she had her way we should be strung
up then and there.
" Poor creature ! I did not blame her so much, as she
had been told the most awful stories of what the Yankees
did wherever they got possession of the country. All
the atrocities ever committed by savages were attributed
to us, together with some that no savages ever thought
of. One of our guards told us that he had heard of our
putting fifty prisoners in a log-house, having bound them
liand and foot, and piled them up as though they had been
so many sticks of wood. Then we piled shavings and
THE LOST ABMY. 213
straw on them till the house was filled with it, and
after this was done we set the straw on fire. The
house and all the prisoners were consumed, as a matter
of course. In another case we tied prisoners to trees
and used them as targets for our infantry soldiers to
practice upon when learning how to handle fire-arms.
" Of course the leaders knew better than this, but the
stories were intended for the ignorant masses of the peo-
ple, to excite them to rush to the defense of the imperiled
South and save their homes from the desecration and
destruction that they said would be certain if the Yankees
once obtained possession of the country. But in one way
they were ' hoist by their own petard,' to use an old
phrase, as the fear of what might happen to them in case
of capture caused many of the rebel soldiers at Pea Ridge
to run away rather than face the terrible Yankees. From
what the soldiers said, I 'm certain that this is what
caused several regiments to break and run after they had
fired only a few rounds from their shotguns and squirrel-
"If this were a place for moralizing, I would say that
lying never pays, whether by wholesale or retail. The
rebel leaders in Arkansas found it out before the end of
the second year of the war.
" We got to Van Buren, on the north bank of the
Arkansas river, three days after leaving Bentonville, and
were pretty well used up by the time they brought us to
a halt. The colonel was sent to the military hospital,
which was in some wooden barracks just outside the
town, and I was allowed to go with him as his personal
attendant, on the same conditions as before. I ought to
say that on the closing day of the journey I got my old
place on the seat by the driver for the last five or six
hours, the wounded captain having stopped in a house
where he had friends who would take care of him until
214 THE LOST ABMY.
his arm was well enough to allow him to return to his
" There was plenty of room in the hospital when we
got there, but the wounded came in fast, and within two
days it was crowded full. I made myself as useful as I
could, and soon got into the good graces of the surgeons,
by helping them to dress wounds and do anything else
that came in my way. I was about the hospital during the
day, and could come and go as I liked, only I was under
parole not to go outside the building and the one adjoin-
ing it. At night I slept in a sort of a guard-room at one
end of the building, but there was n't much of a guard
there, and I might have run away without any trouble if
it had not been for my parole not to do so. It is just
possible, however, that I was watched in a way I was not
aware of, and my old friend may have ' looked out for me,'
as he promised to do.
"The army followed closely after us, and there was no
doubt of the defeat and retreat of the rebels. The sol-
diers were very much disappointed and disheartened, and
if they could have got away without rendering themselves
liable to be shot for desertion, I 'm sure that half of them
would have gone within two days after they got back to
camp. As it was, there was a great deal of straggling,
and I heard an officer say they had lost not less than
five thousand men in one way and another by the cam-
paign to Pea Ridge and back again.
" By the fourteenth the whole army, such of it as held
together, had come in and was encamped around Van
Buren. Some of the regiments were ferried over the river
to Fort Smith, but the most of the troops remained on
the north bank. I did n't have much chance to see them,
as I was kept in the limits of the hospital, but so far as I
could observe they were a forlorn-looking lot.
" Only a few regiments wore the gray uniforms of the
THE LOST ARMY. 215
Confederacy, the greater number of the men being clad in
the ordinary Iiome-spun cloth of the country familiarly
known as 'butternut.' During the Pea Ridge campaign
they had been very poorly fed — some of them going for
thirty or forty hours during the retreat without a morsel
of food other than a few grains of corn ; raw turnips and
carrots had been considered a luxury, and the men who
secured them were envied. Raw cabbages were eagerly
devoured, but unfortunately the country was not stocked
with these products of the soil, or the troops might have
been better fed."
216 1HE LOST ABMY.
jack's diplomacy HIS RETURN TO CAMP — A NEW MOVE.
General Curtis remained a few days in the camp near
where the battle was fought, and then, as the country
around was exhausted of suppHes, he drew back a few
miles to Keitsville, Missouri ; but not until he had posi-
tively ascertained that the rebel army had retired to Fort
Smith and Van Buren, on the line of the Arkansas river.
A day or two after the battle negotiations were begun
for an exchange of prisoners. Both the commanders
were favorable to the exchange, as they were so hard
pressed for supplies that the prisoners on their hands
were burdensome in the way of devouring rations, and,
besides, they required a strong guard to hold them se-
curely. Each side wanted its men back under their own
colors, and as the number of prisoners was about equal
the exchange was speedily arranged.
Colonel Hebart, of the Third Louisiana, was a prisoner
in General Curtis's hands, and was traded off for Colonel
Herron, and each army thus secured the return of an
honored officer. There was some delay in arranging the
exchange of the men of the rank and file, and in conse-
quence of this it looked as though Jack would have to
remain behind when Colonel Herron started from Van
Buren for the Union camp.
Jack was equal to the emergency, and when he learned
that the colonel had been exchanged and was to start on
the following morning, he devised a plan, which he un-
TBE LOST ARMY. 217
folded as follows to his friend, the rebel captain, already-
" It 's clear the colonel can't walk or can't ride on horse-
back. He 's got to be carried in an ambulance or a
The captain admitted that this was the case.
"He's to go in an ambulance," said the captain, "and
I 'm to accompany him on horseback. Dr. will go
along, too, to take care of the colonel's leg."
"I 'm glad of that," said Jack; "but who'll drive the
ambulance ? "
"One of the drivers, I suppose," replied the captain.
"Now, there's just where I can come in," said the per-
" How so ? "
" Why, don't you see. Captain ? Let me drive the am-
bulance. I can do it just as well as anybody else."
The officer shook his head with an emphasis that indi-
cated the proposal to be sometliing quite out of the ordi-
nary run of tilings, and not to be entertained. But Jack
was not to be put off thus.
" I ask it as a great favor. Captain," said he, " and I '11
be sure to return it with interest one of these days. Let
me drive the ambulance, and when it gets to our lines
we '11 have one of your men drive it back, and it will
bring some wounded officer along, if there 's one to bring.
It will be in your charge and protected by the flag of
truce, and you '11 save having one of your drivers go up to
our camp and back again."
Viewed in this light, the proposal did not seem so very
far out of the way, and as it met the wishes of Colonel
Herron, who was highly popular among the rebel officers
with whom he had been brought in contact by reason of
his amiability and courtesy of manner, the matter was
speedily arranged. The ambulance started at the time
218 THE LOST ARMY.
appointed, and Jack handled the reins as though he had
been bred to tlie business and intended to be at tlie liead
of it before very long. The fact is, no great handling was
necessary, as the horses were not at all fiery in their nat-
ures, and had been very much reduced in flesh by the
experiences of the campaign.
There were no adventures of consequence on the jour-
ney, the presence of the captain and the white flag that
fluttered in front of the vehicle being sufficient to protect
it from any kind of molestation. The colonel suffered
considerably with the jolting of the ambulance, and more
than once he half wished he had remained in captivity
long enough to allow the wound to heal. But, on the
other hand, he was elated at the prospect of soon being
among his own friends, and you can be sure he was re-
ceived with open arms by his fellow-officers.
As for Jack, he was a person of great consequence when
he returned to camp and told the story of his adventures
among the rebels. His first thought was for Harry, whom
he hunted up with the least possible delay. In fact, the
two youths were hunting for each other, as Harry had
heard of Jack's return with Colonel Herron from a soldier
who had seen the flag of truce on its way to the head-
quarters of General Curtis and recognized Jack as the
driver of the vehicle.
Leave of absence was granted to Colonel Herron, and he
returned to St. Louis and thence to his home in Iowa,
where he remained until he was restored to health. As
soon as he could do so he went into active service again,
and long before the end of the war his uniform was adorned
with the double stars of a major-general. But he never
forgot his experiences in captivity after Pea Ridge, nor
the devotion of Jack through all those days of suffering.
Jack offered to go with him as far as Rolla, or even to
Iowa, if he desired ; but as the colonel had his own serv-
THE LOST ARMY. 219
ant with him, and was to be accompanied by one of the
newspaper correspondents, who was returning to St. Louis,
he declined the offer, as he readily divined that the youth
had no desire to go home just then. In spite of their
numerous experiences, both Harry and Jack thirsted for
more, their appetites having been sharpened rather than
dulled by what they had gone through.
" Wonder what we '11 do now ? " said Harry one morn-
ing as they were strolling about the camp.
" That 's for the general to say," replied Jack, " and the
most we can do on the subject is to guess."
" Well, here 's for a guess," said Harry, and the pair
sat down for a council of war on their own account.
" From several things that were dropped in my hear-
ing," said Jack, " while I was at Van Buren, I should n't
wonder if the most of Van Corn's army was sent off to
the east of the Mississippi to join the rebel forces in Ten-
nessee. This will leave Arkansas with no army large
enough to oppose us, and so we can go where we please."
" That may be so," said Harry, musingly ; " but where 's
all our supplies to come from ? We 're a long way from
Rolla now, and if we get down into the interior of Ar-
kansas we '11 be farther still. We '11 have to live on the
country, and must do as the rebels do. We '11 get along
without tea and coffee and other luxuries, and settle down
to corn-bread and bacon. But before we start we 've got
to replenish our stores of ammunition, and make up for
what was consumed at Pea Ridge. In my opinion that 's
what the general is waiting for, and we sha'n't get orders
to march until everything is ready. It won't do to go
down into the middle of Arkansas without being 'well
heeled,' as they say in this part of the country."
" Yes, but where do you think we '11 go when we start? "
" We '11 go for the capital of the state, and I '11 bet on
220 THE LOST ARMY.
it," said Harry. " When we have taken Little Rock we
shall virtually have the State in our possession, and that
will be a blow to the rebels. Of course, there '11 be parts
of it still in their hands, but the possession of the capital
is a strong point on our side."
The youths mentioned their belief to some of their com-
rades, and the latter repeated it to others. The story
grew with each repetition, and by the end of the day it was
currently reported throughout the camp that the army
was about to advance on Little Rock, and was only wait-
ing for supplies and reinforcements. Inasmuch as that
was the objective point that General Curtis then had in
view, he was naturally puzzled to know how the story
arose when it was reported to him. Careful and close in-
quiry traced it to Harry and Jack, who promj^tly acknowl-
edged their authority to be nothing more nor less than
There was a vast amount of this amateur generalship
during the war, and it was by no means confined to the
men in the field. Every cross-roads grocery, and every
place, in fact, where men assembled to the number of half
a dozen or more, was a center of strategy, in which cam-
paigns innumerable were laid out and battles without
number were fought, and always won by the side on
which the sympathies of the strategists were enlisted.
There was hardly an editor of a newspaper who did not
feel himself fully competent to direct the generals in the
field how to conduct their campaigns, and if all the
editorial advice and criticism of the war could be gathered
and printed in a book, it would form probably the largest,
and undoubtedly the heaviest, volume ever known.
It was no more than natural that the soldiers in the
field should put their brains at work to discover what
moves were intended, and very often the generals were
obliged to use a good deal of deception to prevent the
THE LOST AMMT. 221
premature working-out of their plans. Some of the gen-
erals lost their temper whenever they learned that any-
one besides themselves had been thus using his brains,
but the majority of them took it good-naturedly, and
regarded it as the evident outcome of an army drawn from
the intelligent population of the North. General Curtis
was one of those men of broad views, and he had a hearty
laugh to himself when he found that the camp rumor was
founded upon the amateur strategy of those enterprising
youths, Jack and Harry.
" By the way," said Jack to Harry, " do you know what
the difference is between strategy and tactics ? "
" I can't say exactly," was the embarrassed reply ; " only
I think strategy is a good deal bigger than tactics, and
" There's one more syllable in it, anyhow," said Jack ;
" but that doesn't tell the whole story. Here comes IMr.
Fay el, the correspondent of the Missouri Democrat; lets
Harry agreed to it, so the momentous question was pro-
pounded to the good-natured gentleman, who had been
with the army since its departure from Springfield.
" Harry was right," said Mr. Fay el, " when he thought
strategy was larger, and included more than tactics.
Strategy is the art of moving armies through a country
and conducting a military campaign. It is the science of
military command, or the science of directing great move-
ments. On the other hand, tactics is the science of dis-
posing military and naval forces in order of battle and
performing military and naval evolutions. It was strategy
to bring the army here from Rolla, and to fall back to the
position on Sugar Creek and get everything in shape for
fighting. The general showed his tactics in handling the
troops on the battlefield, and by winning the fight he
showed himself a successful tactician."
222 THE LOST ARMY.
" Ever so much obliged to you for the explanation," said
Harry, to which Jack added his vote of obligation.
Harry was about to ask another question, but was in-
terrupted by the sudden arrival of an orderly, who said
the youths were wanted immediately at General Van-
dever's tent. Wondering what the sndden summons
could mean, they started at once to obey it.
THE LOST ABMT. 223
A NEW SCOUTING EXPEDITION CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY.
" General Curtis wants you to go on an expedition,"
said General Vandever, when the youths reported to him.
" Are you ready for it ? "
" Certainly, General," replied Harry ; " anything that
you order we '11 do if we can."
" It is n't an order," said the general, smiling, " as it is
one of those things that come outside of orders."
Then he paused, and the youths waited for him to con-
tinue, which he did in a moment.
" It 's an expedition into the enemy's country, where
you '11 run a good deal of risk ; but, as you are not enlisted
into the service, you can undertake it without compromis-
ing yourselves to the same extent that a soldier would.
You '11 have to go in disguise, and conceal your real
character. There 's where the risk comes in."
The general left them, while he strolled outside his
tent, to give them an opportunity to consider the pro-
" I 'm ready to go. Jack," said Harry," provided you are."
" Of course I 'm ready enough," was the reply, " and feel
sure we shall get through all right. We can play our old
game that we succeeded with last year, though we may
have to vary it a good deal, according to circumstances."
When the general returned they announced their
decision. He immediately accompanied them to General
Curtis's tent, and they received their instructions.
224 THE LOST ABMY.
" I want you to go to Fort Scott, in Kansas, about one
hundred miles nortliwest from here ; go as quickly as you
can, but don't press your horses or appear to be in a great
hurry. Take two days for the trip, or three, if necessary,
and when you get there do as the commander of the post
directs you. I will see that you are provided with 'but-
ternut ' clothes during the day ; and if you are using mili-
tary saddles on your horses, you had better change them
for common ones of the country.
"I have heard of the cleverness you have shown on
previous occasions," the general continued, " and have no
doubt you will get through all right and come back safely.
But it will require courage and presence of mind, as you
are likely to meet scouting parties of the enemy, and
must be prepared to play your characters well."
The boys promised they would do their best, and at a
signal from General Vandever they saluted and retired.
From a quantity of clothing in the hands of the quarter-
master they selected two well-worn suits of common
material of the country. Though well worn, the suits
were clean, having been recently washed, and by order of
General Vandever the garments were sent to General
Curtis for his chief of staff to inspect. The inspection
showed that they needed mending in several places, to
insure their holding out through the journey, and they
were accordingly submitted to the care of the headquarters'
tailor for a few hours. To make sure that the work was
properly done, the chief of staff had it performed in his
own tent, and directly under his eye, being unwilling to
trust the tailor out of sight.
Toward evening the patched and mended garments
were ready, and were brought by an orderly to General
Vandever's tent. Their hats and boots were in keeping
with the rest of their wardrobe, and when fully rigged the
boys looked the very picture of natives of the soil of Mis-
Jack and Harry captured by the Enemy.
THE LOST ARMY. 225
souri or Arkansas. By General Yanclever's order they did
not show themselves about the camp in their new outfit,
but remained closely concealed in a tent in the rear of his.
They ate a hearty supper and went early into their
blankets, so as to be up and off before the break of day.
Nearly two hoars before daylight their horses, which
had been tied close to the general's tent and well fed,
were saddled, and the boys, after swallowing a hasty and
very early breakfast, announced themselves ready to
start. The general bade them good-bye, and said his
adjutant would escort them out of the lines.
"But we have n't any dispatches yet," said Harry.
"We supposed General Curtis had some dispatches for
us to carry."
" Don 't you remember, he said, ' Go to Fort Scott and
do as the post commander directs you ' ? That 's all.
You '11 get your orders when you arrive there."
Satisfied with the explanation, Harry returned the gen-
eral's good-bye, and so did Jack. The adjutant appeared
at this moment, and under the convoy of a single cavalry-
man they moved in the direction of the northern boundary
of the camp.
Under the orders of the adjutant the picket allowed the
two youths to pass, and in a few moments they were lost
in the darkness. They jogged slowly along the road until
daylight came, and then, as the country became visible,
quickened their pace.
After riding about three hours, and meeting no inter-
ruption, they halted at the crossing of a small creek to
eat some of the corn-bread they carried in their pockets,
and give their horses a chance to graze. It was Harry's
suggestion that they should provide themselves with corn-
bread instead of dry biscuit or hard -tack, such as formed
the rations of the soldiers. "You see," he explained, " the
hard-tack might give us away in case we are stopped and
226 THE LOST AR3IY.
searched ; but if we carry nothing but corn-bread, which
everybody eats in tliis country, it won't be at all suspi-
cious." Jack agreed to the soundness of this argument,
and accordingly corn-bread formed their sole supply of
provisions, with the addition of a few slices of bacon.
While they were lying on the ground, indulging in their
very plain meal, a party of ten or twelve men appeared
suddenly, from the direction they intended to go Their
leader brought them to a halt, and they quickly sur-
rounded the two boys.
Harry and Jack were prepared for just such an emer-
gency, and continued to munch their corn-bread with the
greatest unconcern. The leader of the scouting party
asked who they were and where they were going.
" We 's from Forsyth way, and want to find some Home-
Guard Yankees that stole two of our horses," Harry
" Forsyth way ? Then you know Pony Matteson, down
on Dobbin's Branch."
" Don't know him," answered Harry, " but I 've heard
tell of him. We ain't lived there long enough to know
many folks ; used to live up close to Rolla, till the Yanks
drove us out six months ago."
This suggestion appeared satisfactory to the questioner,
as it implied the soundness of the youths on the war-ques-
tion. But he was not altogether convinced, and asked if
they 'd been in the army.
Harry answered that they tried to get down to join
Price's army before the battle of Pea Ridge, but were
captured by the Yankee soldiers, and only got away by
promising to go home and stay there. Since the battle
the country had been in the hands of the Yankees and
Home Guards, and they had to hide in the bushes most
of the time to keep out of the way.
Then he went into a general denunciation of the Yan-
THE LOST ARMY. <2.11
kees, and gave details, somewhat garrulous, about their
appearance and conduct. To this he added stories of what
the people around the battlefield said about them, and
altogether gave them anything but a good character.
The leader cut short the talk by ordering the boys to
stand up. N"eedless to say they obeyed, but with a wonder-
ing expression on their faces.
" We '11 go through you," said he, with more emphasis
than civility in his tone, " and if we find out you 're lying
it '11 be bad for you."
At his orders four of the men searched the youths, turn-
ing their pockets inside out, and looking in the inside of
their hats and shoes. If any dispatches had been con-
cealed there they would surely have been discovered. By
advice of General Vandever, rather than their own inclina-
tion, they had taken no weapons of any kind, and now
they thanked their stars that they were unarmed. Had
they carried their pistols they would have been of no use
at this juncture, and would certainly have got them into
Harry had a pocket-knife, very old and worn, and this
he was allowed to keep. Jack had a dozen fish-hooks in
his pocket and three or four yards of line, in addition to
eight or ten dollars in rebel shinplasters. The shin-
plasters and fish-hooks were appropriated by the search-
ers, and also the line, the captain remarking that they
could buy more line when they got home. The pieces of
corn-bread which they had in their pockets were left to
them, along with the pocket-knife, and then they were
told they might go.
Jack protested against the loss of his fish-hooks, but he
did not continue the protest very long. Then Harry
assumed the role of questioner, and asked about the roads
leading to the northwest, and was particularly anxious to
ascertain if any Home Guards had been seen in that
228 THE LOST ARMY.
direction. He described the lost horses minutely, and
asked the captain to send word to James Pratt at Forsyth
in case he found out where the horses were.
With this parting request he mounted his steed, thank-
ful that it was left to him, and Harry followed his ex-
ample. It was fortunate for the youths that the scouting
party were all well mounted and their horses were fresh,
as they would have been quite likely to ask for an ex-
change, and make it, too, without waiting to ascertain if
an exchange was desired by the parties of the second
" They 're pretty searching in their investigations," said
Harry, as soon as they were out of sight and hearing.
" It was lucky we had no dispatches about our hats or
" Yes, indeed," responded Jack. " Wonder what the
next party '11 do ? Perhaps they '11 make us take off our
clothes and see if we have n't something written on our
" That 's a good idea," said Harry. " I '11 suggest it to
General Yandever the next time he wants to send a
courier through the enemy's country."
'< I have it," exclaimed Jack. " Why not put a dispatch
under a porous or some other plaster between a fellow's
shoulders ? Nobody would think of disturbing it."
" Don't be so sure of that," was the reply. " The plas-
ter is an old trick of diamond smugglers ; it has been
successfully used, and it has also been detected. It might
work on these country jayhawkers, but anybody of ex-
perience is sure to have heard of it."
As they rode along they busied themselves Avith devis-
ing means of concealing dispatches and making ciphers
which would be absolutely blind to the uninitiated and
only read by those possessing the key. As fast as one of
them designed a mode of concealment the other cited an
THE LOST AJiMT. 229
instance of its previous use, and whenever one proposed
a ciplier tlie other managed in one way or anotlier to sliow
They liad about come to the conchision that Solomon
was right when lie said there was nothing new under the
sun, when suddenly a gruff voice from the bushes at the
roadside called out :
" Halt, there ! "
They looked in the direction whence the sound came,
and saw the muzzles of four or five rifles pointing directly
at them. It is needless to say they halted.
280 THE LOST AlUir.
CAPTURED AGAIX HOW JACK " PLAYED CRAZY."
Their new captors proved to belong to the band through
whose hands they had passed, as already described, and
after another examination, in which their pockets were
again turned inside out, they were allowed to proceed.
As they rode on Jack suggested a new idea for their
actions the next time they were stopped, as he was fear-
ful they might encounter somebody from " Forsyth way,"
and thus it would be discovered that they were not tell-
ing the truth.
" I tell you what," said Jack, " the next time they
stop us, if they don't come on us too suddenly, I '11 play
" How '11 you do it?" Harry asked.
" Why, I '11 act crazy or idiotic enough, and you can
say you 're my brother taking me home. We live some-
where in the western part of Missouri, and have been
away from home a long time ; or perhaps you can locate
us in Kansas, near Fort Scott.
" All right," responded Harry, " we '11 try it on and
see how it works."
They did n't have any occasion for trying it that day,
as they - encountered no other loving bands. They
stopped at two or three houses along the road, partly to
ask the way and partly to keep up their assumed charac-
ters by asking if anything had been seen of some Home
Guards with two horses, one a dark gray with a short
THE LOST AR]\JY. 231
tail and one ear notched, and the other a roan that carried
his head very high and liad a white patch on the side of
his nose. The white liorse was called Ironsides, Harry-
explained, and the roan one Tatters. The people were
evidently suspicious of strangers, and did not welcome
them with a show of delight, but they gave them the
directions they wanted about the roads. They were care-
ful not to ask for Fort Scott, or any other place in Kansas,
but confined their inquiries within the boundaries of
Missouri. Night overtook them at a deserted house,
and they at first thought they would sleep there, but
after some deliberation concluded it would not be
altogether safe. By good luck they found concealed
among the trees a small haystack, which not only gave
them a sleeping-place, but all the feed they wanted for
their horses. They made a supper from their bread and
bacon, and then picketed their animals securely, and
while one of them watched the other slept. They feared
to be surprised during the night or early morning by the
owner of the haystack, or some one wlio knew of its
existence, and they naturally wished to have time to
get away if possible, by discovering the approach of
They were not disturbed, and in good time in the
morning they took to the road again in tlie direction of
Fort Scott. The direct route would liave carried them
through Granby and Carthage, but they prudently avoided
both these places by taking roads that led around them.
About ten in the forenoon they came to a house where
there were signs of habitation, and Harry suggested that
it would be a good place for Jack to experiment in " play-
ing crazy." So they rode up to the house and were met
by an old man and two or three women, who came to the
door as they were seen approaching.
Jack sprang from his liorse and rushed at the man as
232 THE LOST ARMY.
though he were an old and intimate friend. The man
drew back in alarm.
" Don't mind him," said Plarry. " He 's crazy, and
thinks every old man he sees is his father who died ten
" How de do, father ?" said Jack, taking the cue from
Harry ; " so glad to see you, father, after all this time.
Where 've you been so long ? "
The man thought it best to humor the boy, and said he
had n't been far away ; only down to the next town.
" He 's my brother," said Harry, " and the doctors say
the only thing to cure him is to take him home. We 've
been down South, in Arkansas, and we 're going home to
Bourbon county, Kansas, where mother lives."
" Say, father, I 'm real hungry, and thought you 'd have
breakfast ready," said Jack. " You know, you 've always
had breakfast ready long before this time."
There was method in Jack's madness that might have
roused suspicion, but the very boldness of the suggestion
was calculated to disarm it.
"That 's the first sensible thing he 's said to-day,"
remarked Harry ; " for I 'm sure the poor boy must be
hungry, as he has n't eaten anything since yesterday.
The doctor told me he 'd come to his senses some time
when he wanted anything real bad."
The women had crowded around the group and were
joined by half-a-dozen tow-headed children, that one after
another put in an appearance from inner rooms or the
rear of the house. Great sympathy was shown for the
poor crazy boy, and a breakfast of corn-bread and bacon,
the best that could be offered, and very acceptable it was,
was set before them.
Jack, while they were preparing breakfast, had gone
about the house criticising everything and commenting
freely on the appearance of its occupants. He was
THE LOST ARMY. 233
shrewd enough to make his comments of a flattering
character ; he praised the beauty of the unkempt children ;
thought one of the women looked like the governor's wife
at Little Rock, and was sure she was his sister. When
she denied the relationship Jack assumed anger, and
Harry Avhispered to her that she had better humor him,
as she certainly did resemble the governor's wife enough
to put the idea in the boy's head.
Jack insisted that the governor's wife was the charm-
ingest lady in Arkansas, and as Harry echoed the senti-
ment he found it was not received unkindly. Instead of
eating their corn-bread dry they had molasses on it, a
small jug of that precious article being brought out from
some place of concealment by the woman who resembled
the heroine of the gubernatorial mansion of the capital of
The boys could not pay for their breakfast, as they had
nothing to pay with. At a signal from Harry, Jack
assumed an air of sonniolence, while the sane brother told
the news from Arkansas and answered all questions about
the Yankee soldiers down near the frontier. He explained
that he had no difficulty in coming right through the
Yankee lines, as they took pity on his poor crazy brother,
but they would not let them stop anywhere in the camp
nor look around to see what they had there.
Soon after they had finished breakfast they continued
their journey, accepting with many thanks a goodly par-
cel of the bacon and bread which had been left over from
the meal and would form an excellent supper. Until long
after they were out of sight of the house Jack continued
to wear the idiotic expression of countenance by which he
had so successfully carried out his deception.
"I was half ashamed of myself, in fact a good deal
more than half," said he, " when I found how kmdly they
treated us. They took pity on me and gave us a good
234 THE LOST ARMY.
breakfast, which we sadly needed, and they could n't have
been more sympathetic if we 'd been of their own kith and
" And to think I flattered that woman into believing she
looked like the wife of the governor of Arkansas, whom
I 've never seen, and don't know how she looks. Well,
anyway, she had a good, pleasant face, and if the gover-
nor's wife has as kind a heart His Excellency may be
proud of her."
"We '11 get even with them and make a return for their
kindness one of these days," said Harry ; " and perhaps
we '11 do it very soon. But it will never do to let them
know how they were imposed upon, as it would be a
reflection on their discernment."
Nothing of consequence happened to the youths until
late in the afternoon, when they were suddenly confronted
by ten or twelve rough-looking fellows, armed with shot-
guns and squirrel-rifles, after the usual style of the scout-
ing parties they had already seen. But if there was any
difi:'erence between this party and its predecessors, it was
in favor of the earlier ones, as the crowd they were now
facing seemed to be decidedly a worse lot. With their
weapons aimed at the heads of the youths they ordered
them down from their horses, threatening to shoot them
if they did n't get down at once.
" Now I '11 do the crazy, idiotic trick," whispered
Harry got down from his horse, but Jack sat still and
stared vacantly and with open mouth at the rangers.
" Get off that horse ! " said one of the men, " and be
quick about it."
" Don't mind him ! " exclaimed Harry ; " he 's my crazy
brother, and I 'm taking him home. He don't know what
he 's doing."
This seemed to amuse the strangers, and they drew
' THE LOST ARMY. 235
down their weapons and waited to see what the lunatic
would do next.
Jack continued to hold his mouth open and look as
foolish as possible. He stared at the strangers for two or
three minutes, shifting his gaze from one to another.
Fhially, pointing to one of the men, he said :
"That 's General Price; I know 'tis."
The men laughed heartily at this suggestion, and
not the mildest of the laughers was the individual who
had been thus designated. It is not always that the
victim of a joke can enjoy it as well as do those about
The newly-commissioned " general " was moiuited on a
fine horse (which was not branded with his initials), and
suddenly Jack took a fancy to the animal and proposed a
trade. The general declined, and Jack insisted. To
prove his earnestness he descended from his own steed
and tried to pull the general down from the horse that he
coveted ; but it is fair to presume that he did not pull
very hard, as the general retained his place.
All this time the men laughed heartily at the antics of
the supposed lunatic, and they continued to laugh when
Jack asked one of them to shoot the general because he
would n't swap horses. As the man would n't comi^ly with
his wish. Jack begged for a gun, that he might do the
shooting himself, and when that was refused he threat-
ened to find somebody who would lend him a cannon, or
a whole dozen of them, and he would come around and
shoot everybody that tried to stop him.
Harry begged the men not to oppose Jack, as it only
made him worse. Then Jack proposed to go along with
them, so that he could get the general's horse whenever
he got off ; a suggestion that did not meet with approval.
But Jack insisted to such an extent that the general lost
his temper, and began to swear roundly at both the
2:36 THE LOST ARMY.
youths, till he was stopped by the one who appeared to be
Jack's ruse worked to a charm, as the rangers were now
quite as desirous of getting rid of the boys as they had
previously been to make their acquaintance. They
assisted Harry to get Jack on his horse again, and told
him they would stay where they were till the youths
were out of sight. Harry mounted once more, and with
considerable apparent difficulty persuaded Jack to accom-
pany him. He only succeeded in doing so by exacting a
promise from " General Price " that he would follow them
at once and trade horses when they went into camp that
With this understanding they rode off, and as they went
over the crest of the ridge Harry peered over his shoulder
and had the satisfaction of seeing their late acquaintances
riding the other way along the road at a smart pace.
They were greatly relieved when they saw the last of the
jayliawkers, and devoutly hoped they would not encoun-
ter them again.
To make sure of being out of their reach, they rode at
a good speed for two hours and more. The sun was about
setting when they came to a vacant house. While they
were looking through it and its outbuildings, in search of
feed for their steeds, and possibly for something they
could put into their own mouths, a squad of horsemen
dashed up to the door, and they found themselves prison-
ers once more.
Things were getting lively, but they felt easy this time,
as they saw that the uniform of their captors was the
union blue. The squad was quickly followed by another
and then by another, until not less than fifty mounted
men were assembled. They were under the command
of a captain, who proceeded to interrogate the young
THE LOST AR3rY. 237
Harry was inclined to be suspicious, as he had been told
that a band of thieves wearing the federal uniform was
scouring the country and committing atrocities such as
the worst of the secession bands had rarely been accused
of. So he answered by telling the old story of having
come from the neighborhood of Forsyth, and being in
pursuit of some horse-thieves. He again described the
missing horses, and asked if the depredating Home
Guards had been seen by the captain or his men.
His course was a prudent one, as we can easily see. In
case his captors were really union cavalrymen he knew
that no harm was likely to come to Jack or himself. He
was ready to declare who and what they were as soon as
he was satisfied of the genuineness of the apparent union-
ists ; but, if on the other hand, they should prove to be
the band of murderers of which he had heard, the fate of
both the youths would have been sealed, and their lives
forfeited if they had avowed their real characters.
Harry and Jack endured very well the searching inves-
tigation of the captain ; stuck to the original story and did
not reveal their true characters, and were finally turned
over to the care of the guard, who treated them kindly,
though without giving them the least chance for getting
away. This was an indication in the right direction, and
Harry proceeded to follow it up.
Finding that the sentinel who had them in charge was
inclined to be talkative, he engaged him in conversation,
and soon learned enough to convince him that he was
among friends. Then he asked to be taken before the
captain again, as he had something to say that he had
His request was conveyed to the captain, and he soon
followed the request. When he came into the officer's
presence, the latter impatiently said :
" Well, young fellow, what is it now ? "
238 THE LOST ABMY.
"I want to say," responded Harry, "that we haven't
told you the truth.'
"That's nothing surprishig," was the reply; "very few
people tell it nowadays in this part of the country."
"We've told yon we were secesh," explained Harry,
" and we 're nothing of the sort."
" That's too thin," exclaimed the captain ; " if you think
you're going to play union on nie you're mistaken."
He looked the youth straight in the eye as he said this.
Harry met his glance firmly, and after a moment's pause
" We don't propose to play anything on you now, since
we 're satisfied you 're union soldiers. We were afraid
you might be guerrillas in disguise, and so told the horse-
stealing story that we 'd made up for our protection."
"Well, what are you, anyway, and where are you
going ? "
"We're from General Curtis's army, and are going to
Fort Scott as soon as we can get there."
Instantly the captain's manner changed. He arose from
his seat and said he thought they were the very boys he
wanted to find.
" Anyway," he continued, " we '11 accommodate you by
taking you to Fort Scott. If you 've told the truth it will
be all right, and if you 've lied and are the secesh you first
made yourselves out to be you '11 have a taste of the
guard-house that '11 cure you of a habit of wandering from
Then the captain gave orders that the youths should be
carefully looked after and not have a chance of escaping,
but at the same time they should be permitted to ride
their own horses and have every privilege consistent
with being carefully guarded. " They are probably
all right, but they may be all wrong, and so we won't
take any chances on them," the captain remarked to his
THE LOST ABMY. 239
lieutenant, as the youths disappeared in charge of their
Brigiit and early the next morning the whole party was
on the road toward Fort Scott, wiiere they arrived safely,
but not without a slight brush with a small band of guer-
rillas whom they encountered about a mile from their
camping place. A few shots were exchanged, but at such
long range that it is doubtful if anybody was hurt. Cer-
tainly nobody was injured on the union side, though
several bullets whistled very near.
The party which captured our young friends had been
sent from Fort Scott for the double purpose of looking-
for messengers from General Curtis, and also to ascertain
the whereabouts of any guerrilla bands that might be
infesting the country. Having no proof of their character,
the captain was naturally disinclined to believe their
second story. He had supposed they were lying when they
were first brought before him, and, therefore, was not in-
clined to accept without a great deal of reserve the sub-
But all doubt was cleared up when the scouting party
reached Fort Scott and handed its captives over to the
commandant of the post. Colonel Hinton, the officer who
then held that position, questioned the youths briefiy and
learned when and how they were sent away. When
satisfied on this point he asked for their dispatches.
" We have n't any," Harry answered. Then he told the
circumstances attending their departure.
" But I 'm sure you have brought them, as General Cur-
tis was to send a messenger about this time, and that was
one of the objects for which I sent out the scouting
Harry repeated his assurance that they had brought no
dispatches ; then the colonel laughed and called his adju-
tant, and the latter, at the colonel's suggestion, proceeded
240 THE LOST ARMY.
to rip off some of the patches on the butternut garments
of the boys. The first and second of the patclies revealed
nothing, but the tliird yielded a letter written on thin
paper, and inclosed in oiled silk. Another patch brought
forth another letter, and by the time the garments had
been restored to their original unpatched condition, no
less than tliree dispatches had been brought to light.
llari-y and Jack stood speechless with astonishment.
Here they had been carrying dispatches without knowing
it ; the mystery of their having nothing further to do than
report to the commander of the post was explained.
" This is nothing new," said the colonel, as he silently
regarded the youths. " It isn't the first time a man has
served as messenger without being aware of it ; but your
case is n't equal to that of a man in Kentucky that I heard
of not long ago. He was a rebel spy, who passed fre-
quently inside our lines. One of our spies who was with
the rebel army used to conceal dispatches in tlie lining of
this man's overcoat whenever he saw indications that he
was about to go away, and when he got into our lines an
officer who knew his real character used to get possession
of the papers, the efficient carrier being entirely ignorant
of the fact that he was thus being used. He was allowed
to come and go, as his services to the Union were much
greater than to the Confederacy, though he was no friend
The colonel then gave orders that the boys should be
well fed and cared for, and told them they could rest a
day before setting out on their return. " And Mdien you
go back," said the colonel, " you will not run as much risk
as you have just been through."
They had their day's rest as proposed, and on the
second morning after their arrival at Fort Scott they
started on the return journey. Colonel Hinton assigned
a company of cavalry to accompany them, and kept good
TBE LOST AR3IY. 241
his promise tliat tliey should not run tlie same risk as iu
tlieir trip upward from the army.
Harry and Jack were not forgetful of the family who
fed and cared for them on the occasion when the latter
" played crazy." A well- wrapped package containing a
pound of tea, and another of coffee, was fastened behind
Harry's saddle, and while on the way Harry told the cap-
tain of the escort all about their adventure. At Harry's
suggestion the boys did not show themselves at the house,
as he did not wish the people to know that they had been
deceived as to their character. The escort divided a little
while before reaching the house, and while one squad
went there and delivered the parcel, which was supposed
to have been sent by the boys, the other went by at a trot,
the youths riding so that they were screened by some of
The boys were of service to the escort in showing the
way to the haystack which they discovered in the forest,
as already mentioned. When they reached it they had a
skirmish with a party of guerrillas who had already found
it, and were camping there comfortably with their saddles
stripped from their horses, and evidently under the belief
that nobody but themselves knew where it was. Our
men had the guerrillas at a disadvantage, and the fight
resulted badly for tlie rebels ; two of them were killed and
three wounded, while on our side only one man was hurt,
and he but slightly. Ten horses were captured and taken
away in triumph ; some of the guerrillas escaped with
their steeds, while the rest fled on foot. A sharp watch
was kept through the night lest they should return and
renew the fight, but they did not put in an appearance.
Just as they were starting tlie next morning Harry
called attention to a cloud of dust in the road they in-
tended following, and it was immediately surmised that an
enemy was in the neighborhood. Very quickly the order
242 THE LOST AEM Y.
to mount was given and the column moved in the direc-
tion of the suspicious dust. Hardly had they reached the
road before a crowd of horsemen was seen approaching,
and then both sides made ready for a fight.
There was a good deal of maneuveiing for the advantage,
and both parties advanced witli great caution. A few
shots were exchanged at long distances, where they could
not possibly do any harm, but simply on the Chinese
principle of letting the other side know that warm work
could be expected. As the columns drew closer together
the strangers were found to be dressed in blue, and as
they made a similar discovery concerning our own j)arty
the shooting ceased. A flag of truce was then sent for-
ward, accompanied by Harry, to meet a similar flag from
the other side. The flags inet half-way between the lines,
and it was quickly ascertained that the supposed enemy
was a scouting party sent out by General Curtis. Harry
recognized the bearers of the flag, and there was a vigor-
ous hand-shaking followed by a signal for both sides to
put off the idea of fighting for the present unless they
could find somebody else to fight with.
On their arrival in camp Harry and Jack reported im-
mediately to General Vandever, and then to General Cur-
tis, to whom they delivered the dispatches they had
brought from Fort Scott. The general questioned them
closely in regard to their experiences, and laughed heartily
when he heard of Jack's exploit in playing crazy. He
thought it an admirable ruse, but said it could not be tried
on very often, as it was sure to leak out. Then he praised
the boys for the admirable manner in which they had
pei-formed their difficult task, and said he might have
occasion to call on them again.
" I 'm not at all sure," said Harry, as soon as the boys
were by themselves once more, " I 'm not sure that I 'm
in a hurry to go on another scouting expedition ; are you ? "
THE LOST ARMY. 243
" As to that," answered Jack, " I 'd like a little rest and
a chance to think it over. But after I 've rested I shall
be ready to try it on once more, but not through the same
" I don't suppose General Curtis would send us that way
again," was the reply, " as he would know that it would
be doubly dangerous for us, since we 've been seen with
the cavalry and would be known to be on the union side.
We could n't make anybody believe our story about hunt-
ing for stolen horses from Forsyth way."
On the day of their return to camp orders were is-
sued for the army to be ready to move on the following
morning. The boys wondered if the advance upon Little
Rock was about to commence, and also whether the
dispatches they brought had anything to do with the
orders to march.
But the development of events did not indicate that
they Avere going in the direction of the Arkansas capital,
nor yet to Fort Scott or anywhere near it. The army
moved to Forsyth, in Taney county, Missouri, on the
banks of the White river, and nearly due east from Keits-
ville, where the camj) had been. For some part of tlie
way the principal road, follows the bank of the river and
gives pretty glimpses of the wooded valley and the mean-
dering stream. Like most of the southwestern rivers, the
White has a very tortuous course, and consequently the
road rather touched upon than followed the stream ; to
have done the latter would make it needlessly long.
There was no enemy of consequence along the line of
march, and therefore no opposition was expected or of-
fered. Here and there half-a-dozen horsemen were seen,
but they were not considered worthy of attention. For-
syth was occupied until the army received a supply of
stores and ammunition, which was sent from Springfield
by a somewhat difficult road through the Ozark mountains.
244 THE LOST AEMY.
Our young friends went with dispatches to the post
commander at Springfield, but as the road was well
guaixled and no rebels or guerrillas were supposed to be
in the neighborliood, they did not consider the journey of
any serious moment, and did not disguise themselves.
The distance is about fifty miles, and they took a part of
two days for the ride, spending the night at Ozark, which
is about half-way between the opposite ends of the route.
There was so much up and down hill to the road that
they did not find it an easy one to travel in a hurry, and
besides, they were carrying out the orders of the general
in spending the night at Ozark, where there was tempo-
rarily a garrison of fifteen or twenty men,
" It is a very pretty mountain country," said Harry
afterwards, when speaking of the journey, "and I wished
I could make sketches of some of the landscapes along
the road. In some places you look down a long distance
in the valleys, and in others you are completely shut
in and wonder how you will ever get out of there. An
interesting feature of the country is the large springs that
abound all through it ; they are like the great springs we
saw at Cross Hollows in Arkansas, and doubtless have the
same sort of origin. There is one spring near the village
of Ozark which forms the head of a good-sized brook, just
as does the spring at the head of Sugar Creek."
At Springfield they found very little change in the state
of affairs since they passed through the town on their
way to Sugar Creek and Pea Ridge. The garrison had
thrown up earthworks to protect themselves in case of
an attack by the rebels, as it was thought possible that a
column of cavalry, or possibly some marauding expedi-
tions like those of Quantrell and Todd, might take a no-
tion to pay a brief visit to the place, and the commandant
did n't propose to be caught napping. The supplies for
General Curtis were being pushed forward as fast as pos-
THE LOST AR3fr. 245
sible, but the bad condition of tlie roads and the scarcity
of draft animals greatly hindered the work. jMules and
horses were in great demand, and considering the great
numbers of these animals that had been completely worn
out and used up in the arduous service of transportation
in the southwest, the great wonder is that supplies could
be sent forward at all.
They remained two days in Springfield and then started
on their return to Forsyth. Not dreaming of any danger,
they did not deem it worth their Avhile to so time the
journey as to spend the night under the protection of the
guard at Ozark ; instead of doing so, they passed through
that town and lodged in a house several miles beyond,
where they had an exciting adventure, as the sequel will
246 THE LOST ABMY.
A TKEACHEROUS HOST HOW THE BOYS TURNED THE
The house where they asked for entertainment for the
night was a two-story frame building, and belonged to a
well-to-do farmer, who was the owner of ten or twelve
negroes, and therefore one of the aristocracy of southwest
Missouri. Being an owner of slaves, he was naturally in
sympathy with secession, though he professed the most
ardent unionism whenever he was visited by any party of
soldiers wearing the federal blue. His family consisted
of his wife and two daughters. His son had gone to join
Price's army, and the father took great pains to explain
that he had done so greatly against the parental will.
The pronounced unionism of the man did not arouse
any suspicions in the minds of Harry and Jack, who
talked freely with him during and after the supper which
was set before them. They retired early to bed, as they
were wearied with their day's ride and intended to be off
at an early hour in the morning, so as to reach Forsyth in
good season. On their arrival, before dark, they accom-
panied their horses to the barn and saw them fed and
cared for by one of the negroes, whose good graces they
secured 'oy slipping a quarter into his hand. They took
a general survey of the barn and its surroundings, more
from habit than from any thought that such knowledge
might be useful to them before the next morning.
The room where they slept was in the upper story of
T^£I LOST AHMT. ^47
the house, and there was a wmclow in it which opened
upon a shed that served as a kitchen. Tliere was no
means of fastening tlie door, and neitlier of the youths
thought there was any special occasion for securing it, as
they did not apprehend any disturbance from the family,
and it was liardly lilcely that an outsider could nvdke an
entrance without being stopped by some one below stairs.
They threw off their clothing and retired to the double
bed which stood in one corner of the apartment, and in
less than five minutes both were sound asleep. Harry
was on the front of the bed, while Jack lay next to the wall.
About midnight Harry was waked by a hand upon his
shoulder, and he was about to ask, " Who 's there ? " in an
audible voice, when he heard a gentle " Hush ! " close to
Instantly collecting his thoughts, he asked, in the same
low whisper :
"What's the matter?"
" Hush ! don't speak, and don't move till I 've been gone
five minutes. Keep still, and listen."
" Certainly," said Harry ; " what 's the trouble? "
" Father 's gone to get some men, avIio '11 carry you off.
They are hiding in the woods a mile or so back from
here, and he 's just gone for 'em. You 've time enough to
git away, and you 'd better git."
" We '11 git, you bet," answered Harry ; " but who are
"Never mind," was the soft answer, "I 'm your
friend, that 's all."
" I want to know," said Harry, " as it may be in our
power to do you or your people service some time.
You may be sure we won't betray you."
" Well, if you must know, I 'm Cordelia, the youngest
daughter of Mr. , who is such a Yankee when any of
you fellers comes 'round. He 's secesh though, and so are
248 THE LOST ARMY.
we all, for that matter ; but promise me you won't say so
Harry made the required promise, and then Miss Cor-
delia explained that she overheard her father and mother
talking about how they could have the young Yanks
carried off into the woods and kept there. " I did n't so
much mind your being just carried off," she added, " but
I didn't know but they might kill you as they've killed
some of the union men about here. I 'd taken a sort o'
liking to both of you, and did n't want any harm to come
to you. And that 's why I came and told you."
"Now," she added, "I'll creep back to where sister
Jane and I sleep, and you must n't stir for live
minutes. Don't try to go downstairs and out of the
house that way, but get out on the shed, and at the
further end of it you '11 find a big chimney that's built up
in steps like, so that you can get along it down onto the
ground. Then find your horses and be off jest as quick as
you can. There 's a little lane from the back of the barn
that goes downhill, and if you keep along that lane and
then turn to the right where it forks, you '11 come out on
the main road about a quarter of a mile from the house.
Now, good-bye ! "
" Good-bye ! " whispered Harry, " and be sure we won't
forget your kindness." And as he said so he pressed to
his lips the hand that had been resting on his shoulder,
and which he took hold of just as it was being
Then he roused Jack, who would have spoken aloud,
had not Harry pressed a hand on his mouth and whispered,
not as softly as the recent whispering had been, that he 'd
better shut up. As soon as Jack was fairly awake the
situation was explained, and the five minutes in which
they had been enjoined to lie still were fully taken up in
laying plans for getting away.
THE LOST ARMY. 249
" In the first place," said Harrj^, " we ought to fasten
the door of the room, so as to dehiy our would-be captors
as long as possible."
" That 's so," said Jack ; " but how '11 we fasten it ? "
" I think the chair will do it," was the reply ; " at any
rate I '11 try it. "We might move the bed against the door,
but in doing it we would be very likely to make a
They dressed themselves quickly, but without noise,
occasionally glancing out of the window to the starlit but
moonless sky. "When they had completed their toilets, all
but putting on their shoes, Harry leaned the chair against
the door and found it made an excellent wedge beneath
the latch, and would greatly hinder an attempt to force
" That 's a splendid way to fasten a door," whispered
Harry. " I got the idea from Mr. Johnson, a commercial
traveler, who used to come to father's house. He said
that if you take a chair or a strong cane, — anything in
fact that will go under the latch and rest on the floor at a
sharp angle, — it will defy any effort to open the door short
of bursting it in."
" All right," answered Jack ; let 's have short talks and
Then they opened, and very softly opened, the window,
and with their shoes in their hands stepped out on the
roof of the shed. Creeping along the roof they reached
the chimney without making a sound, and found the place
that was " built up in steps like " and facilitated their
descent to the ground.
There they sat down and put their shoes on, and then
they moved in the direction of the barn. But just before
reaching it they heard voices that made them pause.
After listening a moment they sought shelter behind a
broken cart that offered a friendly place of concealment.
250 TUE LOST ARMT.
A group of five men on horseback came up and drew
rein within a few feet of where the youths were lying.
Tliey talked in low tones, but loud enough to be distinctly
heard, and both Harry and Jack perceived that one of
the voices belonged to their host.
" We 'd better get their horses out first and saddle 'em,"
said Mr. (we '11 call him Jones, but that was n't his
name or anything like it), " and then you won't have to do
it afterwards. I can help you now, but could n't when the
young Yanks are looking on."
" All right, squire," was the answer, and with that all
slid down from their horses. The bridles were placed in
the hands of one who appeared to be the youngest, as he
certainly was the smallest, of the party, and the others
proceeded to bring out and saddle the horses of Harry
When this had been done Mr, Jones suggested that all
the horses should be tied to the fence close to the barn, so
that Billy, the man who had been holding the five steeds,
could be free to help them in case there was occasion for
anything. This was agreed to, and Billy was left to
watch outside while the rest of the party entered the
house. Mr. Jones was to retire to bed and thus give
the capture the aspect of something that had been
done against his will. In case of any outside alarm,
Billy was to strike against the barn-door three times ; it
had been proposed to fire a shot from his rifle, but on care-
ful consideration it was thought the other signal would
answer just as well and be less suspicious to ears for
which it was not intended.
The four disappeared in the direction of the house, and
from their place of concealment Harry and Jack surveyed
the scene and formed their plans. Having nothing else
to do, the five horses of the guerrillas w^ere inclined to
quarrel with the two strange ones, and the disturbance
THE LOST AHMT. 251
they made gave onr friends an opportunity to whisper
easily to each other, without danger of being overheard by
" We must watch our chance," said Harry, " and jump
on his shoulders so as to bear him to the ground before
he can call out for help."
" That won't do," said Jack, " as he might give a yell as
he goes down. Better drop him with a club, and then
he '11 be senseless the moment it hits him and will stay
so long enough for us to get away, and there '11 be no
danger of his hollering."
Harry did not altogether like the idea of the club, but
he realized that it M^as a case of self-preservation, and the
treatment was no worse than what Mr. Billy would be
ready to apply to them without the least compunction.
So he assented to Jack's proposal, and the two armed
themselves with clubs, which were conveniently furnished
by the spokes of a crushed wheel of the cart.
" I reckon them strange horse shad better be a little
further off," said Billy to himself, " and then there won't
be so much furse."
Suiting the action to his thought, he proceeded to sepa-
rate the old from the new, and while he was occupied with
this prudential duty Harry and Jack crept up behind him
and, at an opportune moment, felled him with a blow from
one of the cart-spokes. He went down without a sound ;
in less than a minute a handkerchief had been tied across
his mouth, in which a corncob was inserted as a gag, his
hands were securely fastened behind him, and his feet
were tied together. He was not likely to give an alarm,
no matter how soon he revived.
Harry and Jack then took possession of the seven
horses, mounting their own and leading the other five.
Harry took charge of three, and left the other two to
Jack. They went at a walk down the lane which the
25^ TBE LOST ARMY.
girl had indicated, and on reaching tlie high-road quick-
ened their pace as much as tlie led horses would
" It was very kind of them to saddle our horses for
us," said Jack, " and to save us any trouble about it."
" Yes," replied Harry, " and I 'd give one of their
saddles to hear their remarks when they find we 're not
in the house, and come outside and see tlie way that
Billy is waiting for them."
" I 'm afraid their remarks will not be of a Sunday-
school character," was Jack's answer, " nor very respect-
ful to us."
THE LOST ABMT. 253
CONVICTED BY A DUISIB WITNESS SHORT RATIONS A
The boys pushed on as fast as they could, but it was not
possible to make so good time with so many horses to lead
as though they had been unencumbered. But they had a
good start at any rate, and besides, they had brought away
the horses of their would-be captors, and thus diminished
the chances of pursuit.
" Those fellows from the woods have n't any horses to
follow us with, that 's certain," said Harry ; " but there 's
no telling how many our late host may have in his
barn, or close by in the brush."
" That 's so," answered Jack ; " but I don't believe he
has many. There was only one in the barn when we
put up our horses, and we 've got him along with us. But
quite likely he has some out in the brush, and they may
scare up two or three saddles and come after us. What
shall we do if they turn up ? "
" Let their horses go, and cut for Forsyth as fast as we
can," said Harry ; " that 's the only thing I can suggest, or
at any rate the safest thing. They '11 stop to get their
horses, and we '11 easily outrun them."
Jack agreed to the suggestion, and it was resolved
to put it into practice in case of necessity. As time went
on it was evident that Mr. Jones did n't have any extra
horses handy, as there were no indications of pursuit, and
as daylight approached the boys began to feel safe. Every
254 THE LOST ARMY.
hour brought them nearer the camp of the army, and they
knew that once within the hues they could tell their story
in perfect security.
Suddenly tliey heard the sound of horses' feet behind
them, and as they looked back they saw three or four
men riding rapidly in their direction. The glance showed
that the men were in the costume of the country, and
quite likely they were the pursuers whom the boys
" We 're in for it now," exclaimed Harry. " Let go
your horses and I '11 let go mine."
" Not much," answered Jack ; " just look ahead."
Harry looked and saw approaching from the other
direction a squad of ten or twelve cavalry in the Union
Harry wanted to shout, " Hurrah ! " but just then he
was too much occupied to do it. He took in the situa-
tion in an instant ; they were about equally distant from
their pursuers and the cavalry, and the advantage in their
favor was that they could get to the shelter of their friends
before they could possibly be overtaken by the bush-
whackers. The latter also saw the predicament they
were in and innnediately checked their speed. The
sergeant of the cavalry saw that there was something
wrong, and he and his men came forward at a gallop.
" Go for those fellows and I '11 explain afterwards,"
said Harry, as the sergeant drew rein near him. The ser-
geant recognized the youths and did not Avait for further
words. Away went the cavalry in chase, and in a little
while returned with two captured horses and one man, the
rest having got away.
The cavalry squad accompanied the boys to the picket
line, which was only half a mile further along the road.
The picket-guard was just then being relieved, and the
prisoner was turned over to it and sent to camp along
THE LOST ARMY. 255
with the captured horses. The squad then proceeded on
the foraging expedition for whicli it liad started when it
so opportunely met our young friends and saved them
from trouble. The boys went triumphantly to General
Vandever with their prizes, and told the story of their ad-
venture to a group of interested listeners. They were the
heroes of the day, and received a liberal amount of praise
for the shrewd manner in which they not only got out of
their predicament, but turned it to their advantage. Of
course they carefully concealed the part which the girl
played in warning them, but pretended that they over-
heard the conversation between Mr. Jones and his wife
after they had retired and were supposed to be in bed.
The prisoner stoutly denied any complicity in the at-
tempted capture of the youths, and professed the most
thorough ignorance of them or any desire to pursue and re-
take the runaways. -He explained that he and his friends
had come from Douglas county in search of some stray
cattle, and were just on the point of turning back when
they saw the boys and a moment afterward the cavalry.
There was nothing to disprove his story, and no evi-
dence against him except the circumstantial evidence that
he and his friends were riding very rapidly toward the
youths before they saw the cavalry, and tried hard to get
away immediately afterwards. If their mission was an
innocent one, there was no reason for their fast riding ;
and furthermore they had no need to be as alarmed as
they were on seeing the soldiers. But of course this
was only circumstantial, and he might have been released
but for a suggestion from Harry, on which action was im-
The five horses which Harry and Jack had secured at
the time of their hasty flight from Mr. Jones's house were
turned loose in the yard ; they had not been fed since their
night- journey, and might fairly be supposed to be hungry.
256 THE LOST ARMY.
Soon after they had thus been put by themselves the
officer wlio had charge of the prisoner suggested that
they would go and see what the general had to say on the
subject of liberating the captive. As if by accident they
crossed the yard where the horses where inclosed, the pris-
oner not suspecting the trick and being too intent on his
release to observe the presence of the captured animals,
especially as they were mingled with some ten or twelve
As they entered the yard one of the horses came
familiarly up to the prisoner, rubbed his nose against the
man's shoulder, and in other ways gave most positive
testimony that he had found his master. The identifica-
tion of the man by the horse was complete. As the
oflBcer and his charge walked around the yard and then
out of it, the horse followed like a dog ; and though the
man protested that he had never before set eyes on the
animal, the evidence was altogether too strong against
him to be doubted.
" That 's enough," said the officer, when the horse had
followed the man for five or six minutes. " We'll hold on
to you for a while and see what '11 turn up. Guess we'll
send you to St. Louis and have you tried for bush-
At this the fellow broke down and confessed to his con-
nection with the plan for abducting the boys. Then he
was plied with questions, and before his inquisitors were
through with him they had elicited a good deal of valuable
information. On the strength of this information an
expedition was immediately sent out, which succeeded
in capturing a small camp and securing a goodly supply
of provisions that had been accumulated for the pur-
pose of sending to Price's army as soon as the way
was open. Altogether tlie performance of Harry and
Jack on that memorable night "panned out" very
TUKNING THE TABLES.
THE LOST ABMY. 257
well, to use the expression of a gold-miner belonging
to one of the companies of the Ninth Iowa.
A few days after the occurrences above narrated the
army moved to Batesville, Arkansas, farther down the
White river, and at a point where General Curtis expect-
ed to be met by gun-boats convoying steamers with sup-
plies and ammunition for his army. No enemy opposed
them, and there were no incidents of consequence on the
march. There was a small force of rebel cavalry in
the town, but it fled before the advance of the army
after firing a few shots, which did no harm to any one.
Harry and Jack now believed that the long-talked-of
advance on Little Rock had begun. Batesville is about
one hundred miles from that city, and if unopposed in its
march, the army could easily reach it in a week or ten
days. The rumor went through the army that Little
Rock was the objective point of the campaign, and bets
were freely offered that the stars and stripes would float
over the capital of Arkansas long before the fourth of
But there were serious difficulties in the way of the
advance in the desired direction. In the first place, the
river was unusually low for that season of the year, as
it had only four feet of water in the channel, while the
gun-boats and most of the transports needed not less than
five or six feet. One of the gun-boats that tried to ascend
the river was blown up by a rebel battery at St. Charles,
and the transports could not move without the aid of their
armed brothers. Tlie wagon road to Eolla was a long one
and open to interruptions by raiding bands of rebels.
One entire train was captured and destroyed by them
within thirty miles of Rolla, and other trains were more
or less interfered with. The army was short of food and
ammunition, and in such a condition it could not take the
258 THE LOST AB3IY.
To add to General Curtis's perplexities a part of his
army (ten regiments) were ordered to join the forces of
General IIalleck,tlien besieging Corinth, ]Mississippi, and
to move with all possible haste. They were ordered in the
direction of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, two hundred and
forty miles away. They performed the march in ten days,
an average of twenty-four miles a day, which may be
considered oue of the best instances of marching during
the war. Many of the men wore out their shoes on the
journey, and were barefooted for the last fifty or sixty
miles. The withdrawal of this force, added to the scar-
city of provisions and ammunition, made the army too
weak to venture upon Little Rock, and General Curtis
began to turn his eyes in the direction of the Mississippi
The army remained seven weeks at Batesville, and
during that period it sent out many foraging expeditions,
in the hope of collecting provisions enough to subsist it
without drawing upon its scanty supply of rations which it
had received from Rolla. But in spite of all efforts the
supply could not be maintained, and many a time the
soldiers had to live two days upon food that would have
been no more than enough for one. The gun-boats and
the transports did not come, and instead of rising the
river continued to fall.
Harry and Jack accompanied many of the foraging
expeditions, and, on several occasions, they were of much
practical service. Harry was able to find concealed stores
of pork and bacon where others declared there was
nothing, and one day Jack brought from under a heap of
straw suflBcient bacon to feed a whole regiment for nearly
a week. Harry had a keen eye for chickens, and when-
ever he went on a tour it was a noticeable circumstance
that General Vandever usually had chicken that day for
supper. Jack was as sharp after pigs as Harry was for
THE LOST AR3IY. 259
chickens, and many were the young porkers that fell into
One day they ran into a scouting party of rebels, and
the foraging party had a sharp skirmish with their
adversaries over the possession of a haystack. The
rebels were discomfited and the unionists secured the cov-
eted prize, but not until three of their number had been
wounded, one of them severely. The rebels suffered to
the extent of having two men killed, two or three wound-
ed and four captured. The prisoners were taken back to
camp under guard of two soldiers, assisted by our young
friends, who kept a sharp watch to prevent the escape of
the captives. During the march Harry fell into conver-
sation with one of them, and very soon learned some-
thing that caused him to open his eyes with astonish-
260 THE LOST ABMY.
RETURNING CORDELIA' S KINDNESS JACK AND HARRY ON A
But though he opened his eyes with astonishment, he
did not open his lips to say why he did so. To have done
so would liave been imprudent to the last degree.
The question to the prisoner had revealed the fact that
the captive whom Harry was so closely guarding was the
son of Mr. Jones, the treacherous host from whom the
two youths had had such a narrow escape, and the brother
of the girl who had given them tlie hint which led to
their hasty departure. He had joined Price's army as
originally intended, and was serving with a cavalry regi-
ment that had been assigned to the duty of harassing the
union forces and preventing their obtaining the supplies
they desired. His company was the one with which the
union cavalry had disputed the possession of the haystack,
as described in the last chapter.
" Now," thought Harry, " I 've got a chance to pay olf
the girl for her kindness to us. I '11 get her brother free
and send him home to her. He '11 never know how it
came about, but I 'm sure she '11 understand."
Further questioning showed that another of the pris-
oners was a near neighbor of young Jones, and that he
was very much attached to Miss Cordelia ; in fact, the
twain were lovers, and this circumstance determined
Harry on his course of action, and on the way to Bates-
ville he studied how best to accomplish his object.
THE LOST AR3iT. 261
He found that the young fellows were heartily tired of
the war, and wanted to go home; this Avas particularly
the case with the young lover, whose interest was
greatly roused when he found that Harry had seen
the girl he left behind him. Harry gave no particulars of
his acquaintance with her, other than that he had stopped
at the house of Mr. Jones on his way from Springfield to
Forsyth, and remembered seeing a young girl such as
the prisoner described, or rather such as her brother
told about. He said he could not remember the name, but
thought it was Corinne, or Cor — something or other.
The prisoners were fearful that something terrible
would happen to them, as they had heard the usual wild
stories about the barbarity of the Yankees. Harry en-
couraged their belief as far as he thought judicious, in
order to make them all the more grateful for any service
he might render them. He promised to do his best to save
them from being hanged or shot, and suggested that a
great deal would depend on their conduct.
" If you try to escape," said he, " you will be shot down
at once ; but" if you obey orders and do exactly what is
told you without question, you '11 find it to your advan-
They promised everything he asked of them, and
on reaching camp they went denmrely to the quarters
assigned them, and made not the least trouble. As soon
as he was relieved of his charges Harry went straight to
General Vandever and asked to see him privately, a
request which the general readily granted.
Under the seal of confidence Harry then told the whole
story of how he and Jack had been saved from capture by
the warning given by Cordelia, and how two of the pris-
oners then in camp were the brother and lover of the
warm-hearted girl. He wanted them set free as a
return for the service she had rendered the two youths,
262 THE LOST ARMY.
but at the same time he specially desired that neither
the prisoners nor any one else should know or suspect the
real reason of his request.
" We can easily arrange that," answered the general.
" I '11 see General Curtis and ask him to turn the pris-
oners over to me, to do with as I think best : I 've no
doubt he '11 do it, and if he does there won't be any
trouble about the other details."
An hour later the general sent for Harry, who respond-
ed with alacrity to the call.
" It 's all right," said the general, as soon as Harry came
into his presence. " The five horses that you and Jack
captured that night are worth more to us than the pris-
oners; the men might not like to know they 've been
traded for horses, but that 's the way I look at it. Go
and see if you can get the prisoners to take an oath not to
serve in the rebel armies again during the war, and
you may tell them they '11 be released if they '11 do it."
Harry went at once to the guard-house, where the
prisoners were confined, and it did not take long for
them to make the desired promise. He explained that he
had urged their case before the general, and had persuaded
the latter to grant his request on condition that they
went home at once and stayed there, and furthermore,
that they signed the required oath and gave no further
aid in any way to the war.
This being arranged the prisoners were taken before
General Vandever, who gave them a sevei-e lecture,
pretended he was opposed to letting them loose, but
had only done so at the urgent request of Harry, who be-
lieved them to be honest, but misguided, and who felt
sure they would live up to their promise. There was much
more talk to the same effect, all tending to show that they
owed their liberation to Harry and Jack ; and finally the
papers were signed, the oath was taken, and the x^risoners
THE LOST ARMY. 263
were escorted to the lines and allowed to go on their way
toward Forsyth and home.
It was afterward ascertained that the arrival of the
pair at the Jones' mansion was the cause of great astonish-
ment to the family, and especially to the senior Jones,
who had been in mortal terror ever since that night, for
fear that the youths would cause his house to be burned
over his head in revenge for his treachery. Cordelia
blushed down to the roots of her hair, but her blushes
were attributed to her joy at seeing her lover and brother
safe at home from the wars. No one had the slightest sus-
picion that she had aught to do with the escape of the
youths and the capture of the horses. As the returned
soldiers babbled on about the kindness of Harry, and
how he had brought about their liberation, the tears
came into her eyes, and it was with great difficulty that
she preserved her composure.
As before stated, the army in camp at Bates ville, Aveak-
ened by the withdrawal of a portion of its numbers,
which were sent to aid in the siege of Corinth, and, being
short of provisions and ammunition, was in no condition
to advance upon Little Rock. Its onl}^ Hue of march was
back to liolla, or through the country that lay between it
and the JMississippi river. The movement upon Rolla
would be a retrograde one, while that toward the Missis-
sippi would be an advance; consequently the latter was
selected without hesitation.
From the sixth of May until the twenty-fourth of June
the army lay at Batesville, making preparations for its
future movements. Word came that gun-boats and
transports were ascending the White river, and would
probably come to Jacksonport, which is twenty-five miles
below Batesville and at the junction of the White with
the Black river. For ten days previous to the departure
from Batesville, Captain Winslow, the quartermaster-in-
264 THE LOST ABMY.
chief of General Curtis's army, bought corn and other
provisions, and saved the army rations so that he liad
enough on hand for a twenty days' supply, which was
considered sufficient to carry them through to Helena, on
the bank of the Mississippi, in case the gun-boats and
transports should fail to reach Jacksonport. As subse-
quent events developed, this precaution was a wise one.
For the first time in its history this part of Arkansas
was honored witli a navy. General Curtis built five large
flat-boats, with strong decks, partly for the transportation
of supplies and partly for use as pontoons in case a river
was to be crossed. Cotton bales were ranged around their
sides and firmly fastened, as a protection against mus-
ketry in case the rebels should attempt to hinder tlieir prog-
ress, and it was thought they would even be able to stop
cannon-shot of the smaller calibers. There were no naval
officers and sailors with the army, and so it was necessary
to improvise them. There was a liberal number of
volunteers for the new service, as it jjromised to be excit-
ing and was certainly novel.
Captain Wadsworth, of the Thirteenth Illinois, was put
in command of the fleet, and his company formed the
crew. Harry and Jack were accepted as volunteers to
aid in navigating the boats, each of which was provided
with sweeps, or long oars, that were necessary to keep it
in the channel. Some of the old soldiers were accustomed
to flat-boat navigation on the Mississippi, and felt confi-
dent they could avoid getting ashore ; but, of course, it
was unknown what the rebels might do to hinder their
Harry was half inclined to back out when he found that
the road from Batesville to Jacksonport did not follow
the bank of the river, but wound among the hills at a con-
siderable distance from it. In case of an attack upon the
naval forces of General Curtis the army would not be
THE LOST ARMY. 265
near enough to furnish any eflficient aid, except in a few
places. But, having agreed to go, he said nothing; nei-
ther did Jack.
The advance of the army moved out of Batesville on
the morning of the twenty-fourth of June. Then came
each of the three divisions in its order, and hy noon the
town was deserted. The navy pushed off from the shore
and floated slowly down the stream, the captain, Avho had
been promoted by his associates to the rank of admiral,
ordering his men to make no exertions at the oars other
than might be necessary to keep their craft in the cur-
rent. Some of the natives of the country offered to assist
as pilots, and one of them who claimed to know all about
the river was taken aboard the "Cordelia," the boat where
Harry and. Jack were serving, and to which they had
given the name. He was so enormously fat that Jack
suggested he should be called Pauncheous Pilot, but he
was careful to keep the suggestion from the ears of the
subject of it.
The youths had intrusted their horses to the care of two
of their comrades, as it was not practicable to take them
on board the "Cordelia," which had only sufficient room
for her crew and was encumbered with boxes and other
freight. Convenient loopholes had been made between
the bales of cotton, so that the occupants of the boats
could defend themselves from musketry fire without seri-
ous risk. The oars or sweeps were operated in openings
between the bales somewhat Mdder than the loopholes,
and movable screens of thick plank were arranged so that
the oarsmen would be fairly well protected.
266 THE LOST ARMY,
THE BOATS UNDER FIKE IMPORTANT INFORMATION.
There was a shot from the bank. The soldiers sprang
to their arras and places, and everybody was ready for
business in a moment. The shot had been fired from a
clump of trees on the left bank of the river, and as the
trees were encumbered witli thick underbrush it was im-
possible to see any one who might be lurking there.
The river at this point was not more than fifty yards in
width, so that any assailants would have the boats in
very short range. But not another shot was heard, and
as the boats one after another drifted past the point, their
crews reached the conclusion that the bushwhackers had
concluded to seek safety in flight, or, what amounted to
the same thing, by making no further demonstration.
A mile or so farther down two of the boats went
aground on a bar, and it required a great deal of effort to
get them off. Had tliey been attacked at this point they
would have been at a disadvantage, as their assailants
could have chosen their own distance, and had the pro-
tection of tlie trees and brushwood along the banks.
Harry and Jack began to wish tliey had stuck to the road
rather than essayed naval service in Arkansas waters,
where there was no chance of running away in case the
enemy proved too strong for them. If they could not re-
sist successfully they had no alternative but to surrender ;
and, as Harry expressed it, they didn't like to "go
THE LOST ARMY. 267
An hour or more was lost at the point where the boats
took the ground, and when night came on little more than
half the distance to Jacksonport had been accomplished.
The boats were tied up to the northern bank, which was
considered safer than the southern one, at a point not
moi-e than a mile from the road taken by the army. The
chance of bushwackers venturing so near was not great,
but a careful watch was kept to avoid surprise.
Early next morning the boats were under way again,
and before nightfall they had arrived safely at Jackson-
port, where the advance of the army had encamped and
was waiting for the rest of the column and also for the
The union of the Black river with the White did not
give sufficient water for the steamboats with supplies to
ascend from below, and General Curtis learned that they
could not be expected to come further up than Clarendon,
seventy-five miles below Jacksonport. The only thing to
do was to follow the road and river to Clarendon, and
after a halt of five days the march was continued.
Before the army started on its new march it was rein-
forced by the arrival of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry
which had expected to join it at Batesville. It had
marched from Springfield without encountering an enemy
at any point, though reports were current of large forces
which would obstruct any movements through the
Harry and Jack concluded to adhere to the fortunes of
the navy in its further descent of the river, and when the
boats dropped off to float away with the current they
retained their places on the " Cordelia." The boats were
ordered to proceed to Grand Glaise, twelve miles below
Jacksonport, and there wait further orders. The army
at the same time took up its line of march through the
hills and swampy ground east of the river, and was not
268 THE LOST ARMY.
expected to join the boats until reacliing Augusta, thirty-
five miles from Jacksonport. A regiment of cavah-y was
ordered to keep in the neighborhood of the boats to be
ready to aid them in case of necessity, wliicli was not
long in coming.
The Sixth Missouri Cavalry met the boats at Grand
Glaise and ordered them to proceed to Augusta, and on
they floated with the sluggish current, winding among the
hills and forests that skirt the stream. Colonel Wood,
who commanded the cavalry regiment, said good-bye
to Captain Wadsworth and started for the main army,
but before going far he heard brisk firing from the dense
bushes lining the banks of the river just below Grand
Hastily returning, he found the boats had been fired
upon, and this time with more efliect than before. Cap-
tain Wadsworth was severely wounded, and some of his
men were slightly injured, but nobody was killed.
Harry had a very narrow escape. When the firing
began he was working one of the sweeps to bring the
boat into the current, it having threatened to run upon a
bar that projected from the northern shore. A bullet
struck the huge oar on which he was pulling, and buried
itself in the wood witliin an inch of his hand ; another
passed through the top of his hat, and still another lodged
in the cotton-bale which formed his shelter. The men
on the boats promptly returned the fire, and by the time
the cavalry reached the spot the assailants had mounted
their horses and disappeared in the forest. IIow many
there were of them no one could say, as the density of
the forest was a complete shield for them. Natives in
the vicinity reported nineteen killed, but this was doubt-
less an exaggeration, as there were probably not above
that number of them altogether. The bushes were not
searched, either by the crews of the boats or the cavalry ;
THE LOST AR3IY. 269
the latter were too much engrossed with the pursuit of
the assailants to look for dead or wounded rebels, and
the former did not deem it at all prudent to venture
From this point the boats continued unmolested to
Augusta, where it was decided not to try to take them
further, as the road lay too far from the river to enable
the army to come promptly to their support, and the
country was said to be swarming with bushwhackers.
All the provisions and other stores on the boats were
taken ashore, and the boats and their bulwarks of cotton
were set on fire and burned. The pilot who had accom-
panied them thus far was paid off, but he decided that it
might not be safe for him to return to Batesville, as his
neighbors would accuse him of being altogether too
friendly with the Yanks. He was sorry he had n't
thought of it before, or he would n't have ventured down
the river at all.
It was the fourth of July Avhen the army reached
Augusta, and a salute was fired in honor of the national
independence. Our young friends found their horses all
right and safe in the hands of the friends to whom they
had been intrusted, and it is safe to say that both Harry
and Jack rejoiced to be once more in the saddle.
The old fever for scouting came upon them, and as the
army was short of provisions they proceeded to hunt up
something for feeding purposes. In the outskirts of the
town they found a deposit of corn which had been care-
fully concealed, and had already missed the sharp eyes
of several squads of soldiers. There were nearly a hun-
dred bushels of it, and following up their success they
came upon another store of still larger amount. In a
clump of forest, half a mile or so out of Augusta, they
unearthed more than a wagon-load of bacon ; and alto-
gether their labors were of material advantage to the
270 THE LOST ARMY.
little army, which had been disappointed by the failure
of the transports and gun-boats to ascend the river.
After their return from the discovery of the bacon, an
old negro sidled up to Harry and said he could tell him
something he would like to know.
" Out with it," said Harry. " Don't keep me waiting.
What is it you want to tell me ? "
" Hole on a bit, young massa," said the negro. " Dere
ain't no hurry 'bout it."
"Well, I 'm in a hurry," said Harry, " and if you 've any
talking to do, fire away."
"Now just look a-heah," said the darky, "an' I'll tell
yer. 'Fi tell somethin' yer want to know real bad, '11 yer
give me my free-papers ? "
" Certainly," was Harry's reply ; " if you give us any
information that 's true and useful, you '11 get your free-
papers fast enough."
" Dat 's all I want ter know," continued the colored
citizen ; " and dis is what I 'se gwine ter say."
Harry listened patiently while the negro with much
circumlocution told him of a barn full of provisions which
had been accumulated, about two miles out of town, wait-
ing for a favorable opportunity to ship them to the rebel
army or to Memphis, which was then the depot from
which a large part of the forces in the West were supplied.
When convinced that the negro was telling the truth,
Harry quickly reported the circumstance to General
Vandever and a detail of cavalry was sent to take posses-
sion. The negro did n't want to go along with the party,
as it would involve him in suspicion which would be bad
for him in future, but he gave such minute directions that
there was no mistaking the place.
They found the barn and also the provisions. The
owner of the place at first denied all knowledge that any-
thing was concealed there, and said they were welcome to
THE LOST ARMY. 271
anything they could find, but as soon as the discovery
was made he assumed a different air altogether. He pro-
fessed to be a union man, and explained that he had hid-
den the stuff away to save it from going to the rebels.
" I would rather,'' said he, " see it all burned up than
into a rebel mouth ; that 's the kind of union man
The army remained two days at Augusta, and then
took up its line of march for Clarendon, where the trans-
ports were said to have arrived under convoy of a gun-
boat. The country between Jacksonport and Clarendon
is one of the finest regions of eastern Arkansas. A short
distance from the river the- bluffs along the stream fall
away into low hills and gentle undulations, which become
less distinct until at the divide between the White and
St. Francis rivers the land becomes an almost unbroken
devel. A portion of this flat, alluvial country is in many
places covered with canebrakes, and is often overflowed
in the season of high water. At such times it becomes
an almost impassable succession of swamps and quag-
mires. But at the time our friends traversed it the ground
was dry and hard and offered no obstacle to passage save
occasionally at the crossings of creeks and rivulets.
Interspersed among these lowlands is a succession of
higher grounds, which are level and rarely broken by any-
thing like an elevation. These lands are excellent for
cotton, and down to the opening of the war they had
annually sent a good supply of the textile plant to
market. Cotton was raised there in 1861 to some
extent, but in 1862, by orders of the Confederate gov-
ernment, much of the cotton land through the South
was planted with corn. The valley of the White river
was no exception to the rule, and as our army moved
along it passed many fields of corn, of which the ears,
just then sufficiently advanced to be edible, formed a wel-
272 THE LOST ARMY.
come addition to the scanty stores possessed by the com-
missarj^ department. As a single article of diet, green corn
is not to be recommended, but when combined with other
things it is, as everybody knows, a thing not to be de-
Every few miles the advance of the army came upon
trees felled across the roads, and considerable time was
lost in removing these obstructions. From the negroes it
was learned that there was a considerable force of rebels
at the town of Des Arc, on the east bank of White river,
about half-way between Augusta and Clarendon. They
were said to be about six thousand strong, and to consist
mainly of Arkansas and Texas mounted men, under com-
mand of General Rust. As they were at a convenient
striking distance from the road which General Curtis was
following, it was thought quite likely they would make
an attack at some point where they could fight to advan-
tage, and the result proved the correctness of this belief.
Several timber obstructions were encountered, most of
them at the crossings of small creeks, but nothing was
seen of an enemy until the point was reached where the
road from Des Arc joins the main one, about ten miles to
the east of that town. Here was the plantation of Colonel
Hill, an officer of the Confederate army, and his residence
and buildings were at the junction of the roads, in the
southwest angle. North of the Des Arc road was a cot-
ton-gin and press, and close by were two aboriginal
mounds of unknown date. Colonel Hill was then blessed
with his third wife, and the graves of her two predeces-
sors were on the tops of these mounds, each one sur-
rounded by a fence of white palings. " It must have
been," said Harry, afterwards, " a cheerful thing for the
third wife to contemplate the graves on these mounds and
wonder when her turn would come and where she would
be placed." Jack thought the colonel ought to put up
THE LOST ARMY. 273
another mound, so as to have everj^thing ready for the
good lady's demise.
The country around the junction of the road had been
cleared for cotton-fields, but a little way beyond it the
forests were dense and afforded good cover for an enemy.
The mounted men, in advance, with whom were Harry
and Jack, discovered signs of an enemy lurking in the
timber south of Hill's house, and word was sent to bring
up the infantry, Harry rode back to carry the order, and
in a little while the infantry had come forward and was
ready for business. The Thirty-third Illinois and the
Eleventh Wisconsin were the ones selected for the work ;
they deployed as skirmishers, and soon exchanged shots
with the rebels, Avho were spread out in the timber. The
two union regiments were not more than six hundred
strong ; they were opposed by about fifteen hundred
rebels, but the disparity of numbers was balanced by the
superiority of the weapons of the former and their good
drill and discipline. The rebel forces consisted of some
very raw cavalry from Arkansas and Texas, and some
newly-assembled conscripts who had not been in camp
many days and knew practically nothing about military
Soon as the firing began to have anything like vigor to
it the conscripts fled in disorder, but the Texan troops
stood their ground very well. As our right approached
the enemy's left it was met by a volley which caused two
of the companies to fall back a little ; the rebels under-
took to follow up the advantage thus gained, and to do so
emerged from the wood into the open ground.
Here they were met by volleys of musketry and by
rapid discharges of grape from two steel hoAvitzers which
were brought forward by the First Indiana Cavalry.
This welcome was too much for the rebels, who broke and
fled from the field, leaving a good many of their men dead
274 THE LOST ARMY.
or wounded. Some of them retreated to Des Arc, and
others along the road to the south. It was afterwards
reported that three or four thousand men were marching
from Des Arc to join tliem, but were unable to get across
the Cache river, which is too deep to be forded and tlie
single ferry-boat was not able to bring them over in time
to be of use. When it was found that the other force had
been defeated, they gave up the attempt to interrupt the
advance of the union army and marched back to Des Arc.
TEE LOST ARMY. 275
A JOKE ON THE SPIES — WON^DERFUL SHELLS THE ARMY
A FLAG of truce came during the evening, but was not
admitted. The bearers were informed tliat the dead were
being buried by our own men, and the wounded receiving
every attention. The next morning another flag of truce
came, and as tliere was no good reason for it, tlie general
naturally suspected that it was a pretext to learn some-
thing about our forces and position.
He admitted the bearers of the flag, and kept them
inside his lines all day, so that anything they might learn
by the use of their eyes would not be of any advantage to
their side. The suspicion that the burial of the dead and
the care of the wounded was not the real cause of the
visit was strengthened by the inquisitiveness of some of
the men, and the fact that one of them was discovered
making notes of certain conversations when he thought
he was not observed.
Harry was the discoverer of this note-taking, and re-
ported the circumstance to General Vandever.
"If that's what they 're after," remarked the general,
" we '11 give 'em all they want."
So he had the visitors transferred from the tent where
they were at the time, and placed in a room in one of the
outbuildings not far away. There was another room in
the same building, and the partition between the two was
276 THE LOST ARMY.
full of cracks, so that conversation could be heard with
ease from one room to the other.
The general instructed Harry as to what he was to do,
and then he went with his adjutant and two or three
other officers to the room adjoining the one where the
truce-bearers were held.
" Here we can talk without being disturbed," said the
general. " My orderly knows where I am, and if I 'm
wanted he '11 call me."
Everything was perfectly still in the adjoining room,
and it was evident that the men there were using their
ears to the best advantage.
"Now," said the general, " to begin with, I suppose you
don't understand why we 're marching south and along
the White river."
There was a pause, and then he continued :
" ^Ve 're not strong enough to go to Little Rock now,"
be said ; " but the thirty-five thousand men with ninety-
two pieces of artillery that will join us in the next week
will put us on the offensive, and then Little Rock must
" How are we going there ? " queried one of the officers.
"General Curtis told me this morning that we should
go across the country to within about thirty miles of
Little Rock, or perhaps twenty miles, and there he should
divide the force. Two-thirds of it will cross on pontoons,
which are being brought along by the new army, and there
will- be enough of them to lay three bridges over the river
at once. While they oppose us at one place we '11 get
over at another, and in three hours the entire force for
that side will be safely landed. Then they '11 go to the
rear of Little Rock and lay siege to it, while the other
third of our strength will fire away at it from the other
side of the river. There Avill be four batteries of heavy
siege-guns playing on the town all at once, and they are
THE LOST AE2IY. 277
bringing two thousand shells loaded with Greek fire to
burn up eveiy house in the place if necessary. Twenty-
four hours will be allowed for sending out women, children
and other non-combatants, and then the battle will begin."
" But won't they be likely to interrupt us on the way
with General Rust's army and other troops they can
get together ? "
" They may try, but it '11 be bad for 'em," was the reply.
"The government has sent us some of the new shells
invented by a Yankee somewhere in Massachusetts, that
have done wonderful work in Tirginia."
"What are those ? I haven't heard of them."
" Well, we 've been keeping it pretty quiet," was the
reply, " as we don't want the rebels on this side of the
Mississippi to find it out if we can help it. These new shells
are loaded with a composition that spreads out w^hen it
explodes, and kills everybody within twenty yards. It 's
a secret composition, and the government pays fifty
dollars for each shell the inventor delivers, and he guar-
antees that if two of these shells are fired where there is
a regiment, it will kill every man in it. They are not
wounded at all, but just fall down as though struck by
lightning. Here 's an account of what they '11 do."
The general took a document from his pocket, and
pretended to read a wonderful story of how the entire
garrison of a rebel fort on the James river was killed by
one of these new-fangled shells, which had been dropped
into it from a mortar fully a mile away. He told his
friends they must keep the matter secret, as it was known
only to General Curtis and a few of his higher officers,
and they were particularly desirous that the information
should n't leak out. " There '11 be three hundred of those
shells," said he, " and half of them will be enough to kill
all the rebels in Arkansas."
Then he went on with other wild yarns with the utmost
278 The lost army.
seriousness, and at length was interrupted by Harry, who
dehvered some despatches just received by General Curtis
from General Halleck and brought by a courier, who came
through from Helena in disguise. They announced a
great victory for the union army in Virginia, the innninent
capture of Richmond, the surrender of a large part of
Lee's army, together with other bits of information that
would have been highly important if true.
When it was thought that the eavesdroppers had been
properly "loaded," as the general expressed it, the party
retired, and the flag-of-truce bearers were left to ponder
on what they had heard. In the afternoon the army
moved forward to take up a new camp, and when the
column was under wiiy — in fact after the greater part of
it had marched off — the truce-paity was released and
allowed to go back to its own camp.
The seed was sown on good ground. There was great
alarm through the rebel ranks at the new terrors in store
for them, and in spite of all the vigilance of the com-
manders, there were numerous desertions daily. The
more intelligent among tiie officers had a suspicion that
the eavesdroppers had been hoaxed, but they were power-
less to stop the spreading of the reports, which grew in
horror as they passed from mouth to mouth. The won-
derful shells which could sweep off so many men " as
though they had been struck by lightning " disturbed the
dreams of many a soldier of Arkansas or Texas, and were
not often out of his thoughts in his waking hours.
Very soon after this event the rebels abandoned Des
Arc, and concentrated in the capital or around it. Earth-
works were thrown up to defend the city against the
threatened attack, and so much attention was paid to
Little Rock that all other parts of the state were practi-
And those wonderful shells are yet resting in the brain
TRE LOST ARMY. 279
of the man who invented them. Perhaps they will be
developed in some future war.
It is well to remark at this point that the trick which
was played on the flag-of-truce bearers is by no means a
new one, though it was new enough on that occasion. It
was played several times by both sides during the war ;
but its most successful performance was by Stonewall
Jackson in one of his campaigns in the Shenandoah valley.
Several captured union officers were under guard in a
house in Winchester, and expected to be sent to Rich-
mond and locked up in Libby prison. General Jackson
had a council of war with his division commanders in a
room adjoining the one where the officers were confined.
He gave his orders with great exactness, told where each
division was to march, and sent the commanders away
one after another to get his force in readiness. They
were to advance on the union position and give battle,
and everything was prepared with the utmost care.
Then he asked his adjutant-general when he had sent
the prisoners to Richmond.
" They have n't been sent off yet, General," was the
reply. " But we '11 start them soon after daylight. Gen-
eral Stuart said his cavalry must rest till then."
"If they haven't gone now," said the general, "you'd
better parole them and send them down the valley. Let
them start immediately, so that they '11 be well out of the
way before we begin our advance."
With this the general went out and was soon followed
by the adjutant. In fifteen minutes an officei" came to
take their paroles, and they were escorted to the union
lines by a flag-of-truce party. As they passed through
the town they saw that preparations were going on for a
movement, and when they got within their own camp
they of course told what they had heard.
Of course their information was valuable, and prepara-
280 THE LOST ARMY.
tions were at once made to resist the advance. Hour after
hour passed away waitmg for Stonewall Jackson, but he
did n't come. All those hours he was marching the other
way as fast as possible, and executing one of those move-
ments for which he was famous. He suddenly appeared
at a point where he was least expected, and then it was
realized that his talk in hearing of the prisoners was all a
For the rest of the way to Clarendon General Curtis
met with no opposition other than that caused by trees
felled across the road. It had been reported that a gun-
boat and two transports with supplies had reached Claren-
don and were waiting for him, and he was very desirous
of finding them. The rumor passed along the lines that
transports and supplies were at hand, and so the soldiers
pushed vigorously on to that point.
They reached Clarendon on the afternoon of the ninth
of July, and were bitterly disappointed. The gun-boat
and transports had been there and waited a while, but as
they could get no tidings of the whereabouts of General
Curtis, and the rebels were said to be mustering in force
for their capture, it was considered prudent to retire.
The transports had been gone about twenty hours when
the advance of the column arrived, and with them the
supplies that had been so anxiously desired. Truly the
army seemed to have been deserted in the wilderness.
From all that could he learned there was no enemy
between Clarendon and the Mississippi, the nearest point
of which was about sixty miles away. There might be a
few straggling bands of bushwackers, but nothing that
could make any serious opposition. But sixty miles is a
long distance in a strange country, and when provisions
are running short.
The inhabitants of Clarendon were much like those of
Bates ville and Jacksonport, thoroughly secession in their
The lost armt. 281
sympathies, and wondering when the war would end, so
that they might get their cotton to market. They had
very little to sell in the way of provisions, as they had
been pretty well cleaned out by their own government;
hut the usual foraging, in which Harry and Jack took a
prominent part, served to bring many things edible to
Most of the able-bodied men were away at the war,
leaving behind only the aged and the boys who were too
young for service. Among those who remained was a
lawyer, a dignified and red-nosed citizen of some sixty or
more years, who demanded audience with General Curtis,
in order to prove to him that he had no constitutional
right to invade the State of Arkansas !
282 i'^-E LOBT ARMY,
A NIGHT ATTACK BY PIGS BATTLE BETWEEN FORTS AND
GUN-BOATS DISASTER TO THE MOUND CITY.
On the night of the ninth, Harry and Jack had an ad-
venture of a new sort, which happily turned out to be
The greater part of tlie baggage-wagons failed to come
up until late in the evening, and it became necessary for
the soldiers to bivouac without shelter, as the little town
was not equal to their accommodation. Our young friends
picketed their horses, having first cut a quantity of green
oats from a field near by, with which they fed the faithful
Then they took two or three bundles of the oats to lie
upon and flattered themselves that they would make a
comfortable bed, or one which would certainly be an im-
provement upon the bare ground. With a thin layer on
the ground and a good-sized bundle for their pillows, they
went to sleep in very short order.
They were sleeping soundly, and possibly dreaming of
home and friends, when they were suddenly and rudely
awakened. The night was dark and their first thought
was that they had been surprised by the enemy.
There was a long and very dark form standing over
Harry and another over Jack, and each of the assailants
seemed to be looking for the throat of his victim.
Harry gave his disturber a heavy blow with his fist,
which sent him reeling over upon the soldier who was
TBE LOST ARMY. 283
lying close by and snoring loudly. The snoring stopped
at once, as the fall of the heavy body waked the soldier,
who sprang to his feet and reached for his gun. He had
the impulse to shoot, but did not know in what direction
Jack grappled with his enemy, and there was a struggle
which may be said to have resulted in victory for both.
Jack did not succeed in holding down his assailant, as
the latter slipped through his grasp and made his escape.
But the youth saved his life and was not, in fact, injured
further than a few slight contusions and abrasions.
Another soldier who had been awakened drew his
bayonet, and as one of the attacking force rushed past
him the man gave a well-directed prod with the weapon,
which stretched the intruder on the ground. It also
roused a deafening squeal, that indicated the character
of the creators of the disturbance.
It seems that a drove of half-wild pigs had come out of
the forest, on the lookout for something to eat. In the
southern states pigs generally run at large, being called
up occasionally by means of a horn, to be fed and selected
for slaughter or other purposes. As they are always fed
when summoned by the horn, they soon learn to come to
its call ; but sometimes, when the summonses are infre-
quent, they grow so wild that they do not heed the sound.
Then they have to be chased up, and the work of driving
them in is no small affair.
Very often they remain in the woods during the day
and come around at night to the neighborhood of the
dwellings in search of food. The southern pigs are like
those of any other part of the country, or of the world,
for that matter, as they are gifted with free appetites
and are not over particular about their food as long as it
is something edible.
In their nocturnal ramble this drove under considera-
^84 th:e lost army.
tion had come upon the sleeping-place of our young friends.
Having scented the oats which the boys had taken to
sleep upon, the animals rushed in without ceremony and
proceeded to devour the succulent grain without asking
permission of those who were then in possession. The
assault of two of the pigs upon the bundles which formed
the pillows of Harry and Jack gave the impression that
the marauders were seeking to reach the throats of their
victims, and their forms in the darkness were not unlike
those of men stooping forward to attack the slumberers.
Two of the pigs paid for the assault with their lives, and
formed a material addition to the bill of fare of the men
whose slumbers they had broken. There was little sleep
in the group for the rest of the night, their hearty laughter
over the incident, and speculations as to whether the rest
of the pigs would come back, having effectually driven
sleep from their eyelids.
The presence of the pigs having been discovered, a horn
was blown the next morning and turned to good advan-
tage. Pigs to the number of a hundred or more came
trooping out of the forest, and were enticed into a yard
which had been hastily constructed by some of the
soldiers. When they ceased coming the yard was closed,
and the soldiers said afterwards that pork roasted over a
campfire formed an excellent substitute for other articles
of food when the others could n't be had.
The rumor of the granting of free- papers to the negroes
who had been working on the fortifications or helped to
fell timber to obstruct the march of the army was rapidly
spread about Clarendon, and in a few hours the colored
population for miles around seemed to have gathered
there. All declared they had been doing the forbidden
work, and all, as far as it was possible to grant them in
tlie limited time, received their papers.
" If we had only known it," said Harry to Jack, when
THE LOST AEMY. 285
they learned the state of affairs, " you and I would have
tried to get through to bring news to the fleet, and we
would have got through somehow. We might have
taken a skiff and paddled down in the night, and we
would have rigged it up like a log, so that it would have
required very sharp eyes to discover that it was anything
else than an ordinary log drifting with the current. But
there 's no use crying over spilt milk, as the old saw has
it, and so we need n't waste the time over planning for
past performances. But I 'd have given a good deal to
have known of this in time."
Jack agreed with him, and after a very brief talk on
the subject they turned their attention to other matters.
There was no alternative for the army but to make the
best of its way to Helena, on the Mississippi, sixty or sixty-
five miles away. The tenth of July was spent at Claren-
don, and at four o'clock on the morning of the eleventh
General Washburne, with two thousand five hundred
cavalry and six mountain hov/itzers, started on a forced
march for the banks of the great river. They followed
the old military road between Little Rock and Helena.
It proved to be a very good road, though there were
several bad places at the crossings of small streams.
With a few exceptions, and those doing no harm, not a
shot was fired at them along the whole of the route, all
the forces of the enemy having been withdrawn to the
defense of the White river or to points further back in
the interior of the state.
Harry and Jack were allowed to accompany General
Washburne's advance, as it was thought they might be
useful in case there was any scouting to be done or any
foraging for provisions, but as the march was a forced one
there was no time for anything of the sort, and they had
nothing to do but stick to the column and keep their
horses in the road.
286 THE LOST ARMY.
About nine o'clock in the forenoon of the twelfth the
foremost of the soldiers rose in their stirrups and gave a
loud cheer, which was speedily carried along the whole
line. Cheer upon cheer followed, no one being told the
cause, but everybody realizing that the end of the long
march was near. The spires of the churches of Helena
were soon afterward in full view, and beyond them
gleamed the waters of the Mississippi, reflecting the rays
of the summer sun.
Harry and Jack were among the loudest of the cheerers,
as they realized that, for the present, at any rate, their
wanderings in the wilds of Arkansas were at an end.
They were weary with the almost unbroken ride of twenty-
eight hours, covered with the dust that rose in clouds
from the dry road, and suffering the pangs of hunger and
thirst, but no worse in that respect than all those about
them. But with all their weariness and hunger, and
through all the dust that covered them, their hearts
swelled with joy, and they shouted themselves hoarse over
the sight of the great river of the West.
But now came a new difficulty. Helena had not been
occupied by union troops, and there was no one there to
welcome them. The gun-boat fleet had called there and
agreed with the local authorities that the town should not
be harmed as long as no outrages were perpetrated on
passing steamboats. The agreement had been kept, and
though several bands of bushwhackers had dropped in to
see their friends, they had been restrained from making
any attacks or otherwise disturbing the peace. The in-
habitants were not particularly loyal toward the govern-
ment, but they had heard the fate of several places where
boats had been fired upon, and had sufficient influence to
keep their bushwhacking friends quiet.
As the advance of General Washburne's cavalry entered
the town, several men, who had been loitering in front of
THE LOST ARMY. 287
one of the stores, made haste to mount their horses and
get away. A few shots were fired at them, but no harm
was done, and no attempt was made to pursue them. In
a little while the whole force of cavalry had reached the
river bank, and the Mississippi was scanned up and down
to discover a steamboat.
General Washburne hoped there would be a gun-boat
with which he could communicate, but no gun-boat was
in sight. Soon the smoke of a steamboat was seen below
the town, around a bend of the river, and in due time she
came in sight, slowly stemming the powerful current. It
was an ordinary transport, quite incapable of defense, and
the general quickly made up his mind to stop her by
friendly means if he could, or by force if he must.
As the steamer came in front of Helena flags were waved
again and again, but the boat paid no attention to them.
Then a shot was fired across her bows to warn her to stop,
but this had no effect ; another shot followed, and then
another, aimed like the first, so as not to harm the boat,
but to make those on board believe that something serious
would happen soon unless she came to a halt. Seeing
there was no escape from the supposed rebels, the pilot
headed the boat for the bank and ran in, A dozen or more
soldiers were on her deck with their guns ready for busi-
ness, but they soon perceived that resistance to such a
force would be useless. They prepared to surrender and
make the best of their misfortune. But before the gang-
plank had been run out one of the shrewdest of them
observed that the formidable force was habited in the union
uniform, though it was so sadly covered with dust that it
could easily be mistaken for the confederate gray.
An ofiicer who was among the passengers brought a
field-glass to bear on the party on the bank. He was an
old friend of Captain Winslow, the quartermaster of Gen-
eral Curtis's army, and was not long in making him out,
288 THE LOST ARMY.
in spite of the dust that covered him and his generally be-
draggled appearance after his long ride. Holding aside
his glass, he shouted :
" Is Captain Winslow there ?"
" Here I am," was the reply, " and here are the rest of
" All right, pilot," said the officer ; " you 're safe enough
now. You 're captured by our friends."
In a few minutes the boat had been made fast to the
shore, and General Washburne came onboard accompanied
by Captahi Winslow, Captain Noble, of General Curtis's
staff, and several other officers. There was a recognition
of old friends and introductions all around. The new ar-
rivals were treated to the best the steamer afforded, and
the officer who had charge of the boat asked what they
could do for the weary and dusty crowd.
" Give us whatever provisions you can spare," said Gen-
eral Washburne, " and then hurry up to Memphis as fast
as you can with Captains Winslow and Noble. They '11
get supplies for us and have them shipped down here to
meet the army by the time it arrives."
The boat was not well provided with stores, as she had
no occasion for anything beyond sufficient to feed her com-
pany to Memphis, but whatever she had was quickly rolled
on the bank and handed over to the quartermaster of the
division. When this had been done she immediately
steamed away for Memphis, ninety miles up the river.
She was obliged to lie at anchor during the night, owing
to a dense fog, and did not reach Memphis until the fol-
Supplies were immediately shipped to Helena, and by
the morning of the fourteenth they were piled on the bank
— a welcome sight to the soldiers, that marched in as
closely behind the cavalry as it was possible for infantry
to follow. The march from Clarendon was accomplished
The Dumb Witness.
THE LOST ABMY. 289
in little more than two days, and not a wagon was lost or
left behind. By the evening of the thirteenth all the di-
visions had arrived, and anxiously waited the provisions
which came to them on the following morning. Hundreds
of hands were ready to assist in the landing, and rarely
has a steamboat discharged her cargo with greater celerity.
The column was followed by a great number of negroes,
who feared the treatment they would receive from their
masters after the departure of the union forces from Clar-
endon. At one time it was remarked that there were more
negroes than white men in Helena, and the support of the
colored population became a matter of serious consequence.
The difficulty was partially solved a few months later,
when it was decided to enlist negroes as soldiers, and sev-
eral regiments of them were formed for infantry and cav-
alry service. Thousands of able-bodied citizens of African
descent were enrolled in the army, and though they had
their defects they did credit to themselves, besides ex-
asperating the rebels to an unwonted degree. Many of
the rebel officers subsequently declared that their greatest
mistake was that they did not arm their negroes early in
the war, and promise to give them their freedom at the
290 THE LOST ARMY.
THE LOST ARMY IN CAMP AT HELENA — NEGROES UTILIZED
Our story draws to a close. We have brought Harry
and Jack to the banks of the great river, and there we will
leave them. The army of General Curtis had terminated
a most arduous campaign. Since leaving Rolla in Feb-
ruary, six months before, it had marched more than six
hundred miles, much of the way through a thinly-settled
and inhospitable region, with bad roads, unbridged
streams, and all the difficulties of locomotion in a new
country. It had fought several minor engagements and
skirmishes, and engaged in a battle of three days' duration
— that of Pea Ridge, out of which it emerged victorious
after combating with a force three times as great as its
own. It had performed some of the best marching on
record, and its men were ready to go through another
campaign of the same sort, only asking for a brief rest and
for sufficient good food to restore their accustomed
strength. And the reader may be sure that nothing was
kept from them that was within the power of the quarter-
masters to give, and the camps in and aroun.d Helena
were a scene of feasting and rejoicing, such as that quiet
town on the Mississippi had never before known.
Harry and Jack were quite as ready as any one else for
a good rest, and did not hang back when there was
a prospect of something nice to eat. As they strolled
through the streets and along the levee of Helena they
TBE LOST ARMY. 291
built many castles in the air, and pondered upon what
they had been through since they left their homes a
" Wonder how many miles we 've traveled ? " said
Harry. " I leave out of the calculation the railway and
steamboat traveling, and only include horseback riding
and on foot."
" I don't know, I 'm sure," replied Jack. " Let 's figure
it up as best we can, and see how it comes out."
They proceeded to figure it, but frankly acknowledged
that the job was a difficult one, on account of their nu-
merous scouting expeditions, many of which they could n't
remember at the moment. Altogether they thought it
must have been not far from a thousand miles up to the
time they made their last departure from Rolla. The
army, as we have seen, had marched six hundred miles
from Rolla to Helena, and as the boys had made many
scouting and other expeditions around Pea Ridge, Forsyth
and Batesville, they thought it not unfair to add four
hundred miles to the total of the army's movements,
making two thousand miles altogether.
"Just think of it ! " exclaimed Jack. " Two thousand
miles ! Why, that 's two-thirds the distance, about, from
New York to San Francisco. It 's a big lot of traveling,
especially when it 's been done on the quarter-deck of a
horse, and sometimes under very hard circumstances.
We 've been many times in peril of our lives, passed
through a great many privations, been cold and wet and
hungry, but for all that, here we are as healthy as a
couple of young tigers, ready for the next adventure that
" Yes, that 's so," replied Harry ; " and I suppose you
don't want to go home just now, do you?"
" Not I," was the ready response ; " but we '11 see what
our folks say about it, and also what the general says."
292 THE LOST ARMY.
"We haven't had any letters for a long time," said
Harry, " and furthermore we have n't sent any, for
the very simple reason that the mails could n't get
either to oi' from us. We 've been buried in the
wilderness as much as though we had been in the middle
" Yes," replied Jack ; " and that reminds me of something
I heard General Vandever saying this morning. He had a
newspaper which somebody brought down on a steamboat
from Memphis, and I heard him telling General Wash-
burne that the newspapers were full of articles about us,
and there was a great deal of anxiety concerning General
Curtis and his army."
" Then he laughed," continued Jack, " and said they
were speaking of us as ' The Lost Army.' Nothing had
been heard from us for such a long time that they were
afraid we 'd been lost and could n't get back again, or
perhaps the rebs had killed or captured us all."
" Well, we have n't been lost very much," said Harry,
with what may be called an audible smile. " We 've
always known where we were, and whenever the enemy
attacked us he had reason to know that we knew. But,
I say. Jack, that gives me an idea."
"What is that?"
" Why, if we ever write a story of our campaigns that
'11 be a good name for it. We '11 call it ' The Lost Army,'
and it '11 be a first-rate title."
" That 's so," Jack answered, " and it will be quite as
truthful as many titles of books I 've seen. Very often
when you read a book there 's very little in the pages of
the volume that seem to have been suggested by what
you find on the title-page."
" Just so," said Harry, " and a man will have to read
clear through to the last chapter before he finds out what
The Lost Army was. And when he does find out he '11 agree
THE LOST ARMY. 293
with us that we have n't been going round getting lost
We had the permission of the youths to give the account
of their experiences in the southwest, and have taken it, ■
title and all. This is why our story has been called as
the reader has seen.
Helena continued to be a permanent military post from
that time onward, but the rebels did not attempt to dis-
turb it, for the double reason that their force of troops on
the west of the Mississippi was small, and no good could
come from a raid on the town when they would not be able to
hold it more than a few hours, only until gun-boats could
arrive to drive them away. General Curtis was ordered to
St. Louis to take command of the Department of the Mis-
souri, and operate against the rebels that were making
things somewhat lively in the neighborhood of Springfield
and Fayetteville. A portion of the troops that had composed
The Lost Army remained at Helena, but the greater part
were ordered to join the corps that made the second attack
on Vicksburg and ultimately succeeded in reducing that
important stronghold of the rebellion.
Two or three weeks after the arrival of General Curtis
at Helena word was received of a party of rebels some
twelve or fifteen miles away in a northerly direction. Two
companies of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry went to look
for the enemy, and were accompanied by our young
friends. They found the enemy, and very unexpectedly
too, for they ran into an ambuscade ; but happily the aim
of the rebel rifles was so bad that only two or three men
were injured. Then the unionists " went in," and thrashed
the rebels, compelling them to retreat after the loss of
several of their number. Harry and Jack had each a
prisoner to his credit, though it is proper to say that they
were not captured in fair fighting. The way of it was
294 THE LOST ARMY.
After the fighting was over the youths dismounted to
look over the ground and pick up anything that miglit be
of value or would indicate to what company or regiment,
if any, the men they had been engaged with belonged.
They had done this on several occasions to advantage, and
in the latter part of their campaigning it was a rule to
which they adhered whenever circumstances permitted.
While they were inspecting the scene of the skirmish,
Harry came to a large tree which proved on examination
to be hollow. He remarked to Jack that it was a good
place for a man to hide in, to which Jack replied that it
would hold half a dozen or more if they did n't mind a
" Who knows but that some of those fellows hid there
when they found we were getting the best of 'em," said
Harry. " Suppose we investigate that tree."
Jack agreed to it, and they approached the tree, cocked
their pistols and pointed them up the hollow into the
" Come down out of that," said Harry, in a commanding
tone, " or we '11 shoot daylight into you."
There was no response, and Harry was about to turn
away when Jack, more in fun than with any expectation
of finding anybody, called out :
" Come down, I say. You '11 have just five seconds to
"I 'm a-coming," said a weak voice from the darkness,
much to the surprise of the boys, and a moment later
down slipped a forlorn looking " Butternut," who was
evidently greatly frightened.
" Surrender ! " shouted Harry, " and tell the rest of
'em to come right away."
" There 's only one more feller there," said the prisoner,
who surrendered by throwing his hands in the air and
dropping his shotgun on the ground. The summons
TUE LOST ARMY. 295
was renewed, and down came the " one more feller " and
surrendered after the same fashion ; and this was the way
their prisoners were taken.
'• Not quite as meritorious a performance as captur-
ing them in open fighting," said Harry ; " but then it 's
like hooking a fish in the side instead of catching him
in the regular way by the mouth — he counts just the
During their stay at Helena Harry and Jack made
themselves useful in looking after the negroes that flocked
there for protection, and they were sometimes derisively
mentioned by their comrades as managers of the Freed-
men's Bureau. But they took the satire good-naturedly
and went on with their work, which consisted of aiding
in the distribution of rations, making lists of the negroes
as fast as they came in, assigning them to different parts
of the camp, helping them to their free-papers, drafting
out all who were able to work, and sending them to the
levee to aid in unloading steamboats, or into the forests
in the neighborhood of Helena, where they were employed
to cut wood. At every opportunity they endeavored to
instill into the negro-mind the idea that freedom did n't
mean idleness, and insisted that the best way of making
this fact understood was to put the negro at work, even
if work had to be manufactured for him.
Consequently when there was nothing else to be done,
Harry would take the negroes who were under his orders
and set them to throwing up a fortification around the
camp. When it was completed he pretended to wish to
change something about it, and thus the earth of which it
was composed was handled over several times in succession.
The last we saw of our young friends in the camp at
Helena they were looking on and listening one Sunday
evening when the negroes were having a religious meet-
ing. Several negro preachers harangued the assemblage in
296 THE LOST ARMY.
their quaint and forcible way. Prayers were offered, and
tliree or four hymns were sung with great fervor, all the
congregation joining, and fairly making the woods ring
with their voices.
THE LIBRARY OF THE